Beating the Spurs is always special for the Nuggets ... especially when the win comes in Texas, where everything feels just a bit bigger. Melo led the way with 34 points in 42 minutes of play and the Nuggets needed every one of his 14 makes. The game was physical and quick paced and when two good teams meet ... the intensity finds a way to play a big role. Perhaps the biggest role of the night belongs to Ty Lawson as George Karl trusted and played the rookie during the key stretch of the game and Lawson responded with clutch foul shooting, layups and staying with Tony Parker (who terrorized the Nuggets in the paint all night).
When the game got underway I was very surprised at the pace in which the Spurs wanted to play. The quick pace of the game caught me off guard, but San Antonio played well at an accelerated rate and started taking the ball inside and making easy buckets on the Nuggets. As the game wore on I began to wonder why the Spurs, who scored easily inside, started taking three-pointer after three-pointer ... they finished 7-21 on the night from deep.
The Nuggets on the other hand were 4-9 from deep and didn't take a lot threes at they found success taking the ball right into the heart of the San Antonio defense. Denver has the type of team that can get to the rack with regularity and it was very pleasing to see them play to their strength.
Reading SBN's Spurs blog Pounding the Rock earlier in the day it was mentioned that the Spurs would be playing with a sense of urgency because of a tight division race. Denver matched the urgency as they have their own goals in mind (home court in the playoffs). And the Nuggets with the win earn the best start through 20 games in team history.
The Nuggets bench, that features just a typical three player rotation, keyed the win as J.R. Smith and Ty Lawson scored 17 and 11 points respectively. I can't really say enough about Melo's offense tonight ... he was making a variety of shots and found nothing but net on multiple occasions with a hand in his face. Again without Melo's performance Denver does not win this game.
Views you can use:
-Nene played very well against Tim Duncan and took the ball to the rim and finished with either hand going 6-10 from the floor for 12 points. Somehow he didn't get to the foul line ... and he somehow also finished with just 1 rebound.
-The Nuggets won the game despite just 13 team assists.
-Kenyon Martin led the Nuggets with 13 rebounds as the Nuggets won the rebounding battle 38-31.
Photo courtesy of AP Photos: Bahram Mark Sobhani