Yes they did. Nuggets pull out the victory 94-87 with a solid end to the fourth quarter.
Even though Carmelo Anthony finished with 38 points, 12 rebounds and 2 assists and carried the Nuggets through the first half, this game belonged one one Kenyon Martin. That's right ladies and gentlemen. Without Kmart the Nuggets lose their third straight game.
Check out this stat line ... 11 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists. Without his defense and all around toughness the Nuggets would have blown a third game, and my fellow Stiffs would have let out a cry so fierce it would have been heard in Los Angeles, New York, and New Jersey. A game like this is why I love Kenyon Martin. Toughness. Attitude. Defense. Rebounding. The heart and soul of this team is and always will be Kmart.
Chauncey Billups contributed 20 points and 4 assists. He his some very timely shots at the end and picked up the slack for a clearly struggling Ty Lawson. Ty finished with zero points and looked completely lost against Earl Boykins (yep...you read that correctly). Honestly, at one point I considered calling for Anthony Carter to be put in. Ty's head is somewhere else besides playing effective basketball. Lets see if the All-Star break gives him a much needed rest.
The defense on Andrew Bogut was exceptional. He finished with three points. Yet somehow had 20 rebounds. Outside of John Salmons and his jewel kicking foot (sorry Kmart), who finished with 33 points, the Nuggets rendered the rest of the Milwaukee offense ineffective. Brandon Jennings finished with only 4 points and did not play most of the fourth quarter. Corey Maggette flopped his way to 16 points but was missing wide open shots at the end and was blocked by both Carmelo and Kenyon on successive possessions.
Overall, considering the circumstances, this was one of the most impressive Nuggets victories of the season. Now, we wait. The end game for the Melodrama seems at hand, yet, in comments played during the broadcast on ESPN Melo gave both an indication that he may stay, and he may be traded. It was very bizarre to see the interview played out while he was dropping 38 points.
A win is a win. And this one was a relief.
Nuggets of Wisdom
The Nuggets will be able to pick up their heads a bit as they enter in to the All-Star break. With an assumed end to the trade speculation in sight, the Nuggets must sit back and wait. Wait for a conclusion. If this is, indeed, Melo's last game in a Nuggets uniform I'm glad he went out playing well, and with a victory. The way the team was going before this game was just ... sad. We don't want our memories of Melo being a pathetic limping team convulsing to it's last stand. They have given us way too much for this to be a sad ending.
There again. We may be talking about Melo still being on the team when the Nuggets resume play next week. Who knows? At this point, lets just revel in this victory and understand that what happens happens. Go to youtube and play your favorite Melo game ending shot. Relive the 2009 playoffs and smile.
That's what I'm going to do anyway.