During his evolution as an NBA player, Andre Iguodala turned from an athletic, electrifying scorer into a defensive stopped and someone who can do pretty much anything on the court. But with Kenneth Faried twisting his ankle while Wilson Chandler and Corey Brewer weren’t really in the kind of shooting zone they’ve been recently, it was up to Iggy to revert to his old form and lead the Denver Nuggets to another franchise record.
55 Wins in a season means the Nuggets are the real deal, and the probable third seed in the West, which at the moment means a high-scoring, fast paces series with the Houston Rockets. All they had to do was beat the sinking Portland Trail Blazers, who are about playing rookies, that except for Damian Lillard don’t really have much of a chance to do something; hardly even win a game.
And yet they managed to keep it close, like most of their game, hiding the fact that they’re tanking. The Denver Nuggets won 118-109 thanks to Iguodala scoring 28 points, his highest scoring performance since the February game against the Blazers, in which he finished with 29 points. Iguodala is averaging only 12.9 points per game this season, playing a different role for the Nuggets than the one he had for the 76ers during his early days. Usually, there’s no need for him to be scoring this much.
By the team’s top scorer, Ty Lawson, is just now starting to come back, finishing with 12 points. The next guy on the scoring list, Danilo Gallinari, is out for the season. Kenneth Faried played in only 3 minutes before leaving the game. Corey Brewer and Wilson Chandler, picking up the slack lately, finished with a combined 18 points and 22.2% from the field. Someone had to pick up the slack, and it was Iguodala, with a nice combination of slashing and outside shooting, while he got some surprising backup from Evan Fournier.
Some say Fournier reminds them of Manu Ginobili in the way he plays, creating improbable angles as he drives to the basket before dishing to an open player on the give n’ go. The 20-year old French rookie finished with 24 points and four assists, adding yet another wing player for the Nuggets to count on come the playoffs, hoping that their incredible depth at almost every position can make up for the hectic pace that’s costing them the health of some key players.