The refs didn't need to review anything tonight as the Nuggets, like a pride of lions, toyed with their prey before eventually tearing them apart in the second half by outscoring Chicago 63-41 and winning the game 112-93.
While I was watching the game tonight I kept thinking to myself ... who is our Jerome Williams? That is to say ... who is Denver's Junkyard Dog (Williams' nickname)? Who is the guy who is going to get scrappy, fight for rebounds and just generally wreak havoc while he's on the floor? Well, our answer last year was Chris Andersen ... the Birdman. Whenever he came into the game you knew you were going to see 110% effort and hustle from the Bird and he was going to be breaking his back to earn more minutes.
Thus far this season we hadn't seen the same Andersen, due to injury, but tonight the Birdman came back. Bird was blocking shots (3), grabbing rebounds (5), and busting his ass up and down the floor and earning some easy points along the way (9). When Nene, who had an excellent game, came off the floor the Bird didn't miss a beat and actually raised Denver's energy level.
The Nuggets energy at the outset of the contest could be found in the morgue, but once again in the second half it was as if it dawned on Nuggets, "wow, what should we do with these big sharp claws?" Well Denver decided to use them in the final two quarters to just tear the rabbit to pieces (whoa, a slight reference to Swingers?!?!). Suddenly the Bulls looked like they had just played in L.A. the night before and Denver once again looked like an elite team.
Carmelo Anthony chalked up his second double-double of the season and nearly had himself a triple-double with 30 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists. When Melo is in "assist-mode" he is unstoppable ... his court vision is on par with some of the top points guards in the league when he wants it to be and when he trusts in his ability it's fun to sit back and watch the man play.
Chauncey Billups had a fine night shooting the ball and had an interesting postgame quote on Altitude TV saying Denver's "pride kicked in" in the second half and that helped the Nuggets earn the win. Billups connected on 5-9 shots (3-5 from deep) and scored 21 big points.
Denver's bench stood out once again, as it should with the talent it possesses and outscored Chicago's 43-19 ... wow! J.R. Smith capped off the night when Melo fired a pass to him from just below his own free throw line, to a streaking Smith who was just inside the Bull's three point line, where Smith then took his two steps and threw down a two-handed highly exaggerated double clutch dunk. The crowd errupted and J.R. blew a couple kisses to his audience (97-81 at that point.)
The Nuggets earn a season series sweep over the Bulls and got back to their winning ways ... thanks to Andersen getting back to being the Bird.
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Photo courtesty of AP Photos David Zalubowski