There are quite a few differences to the 2013 version of the Denver Nuggets that make them likely to do better than in recent seasons, one of them being the arrival of Andre Iguodala, doing pretty much anything that’s required of him on both ends of the floor. The other is the depth assembled, still showing despite the injuries, led once again by Corey Brewer.
Without Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler has taken the lineup spot, and has done quite well to make the good people of Denver forget about their missing stars, like Gallinari and Ty Lawson. Chandler finished with 29 points (following a 21 point performance against the Rockets) while shooting on 11-20 shooting, giving the Nuggets a very important 96-86 win over the San Antonio Spurs, keeping a hold of the third spot in the Western Conference.
Corey Brewer is probably the team’s hottest player, despite not getting the lineup spot instead of the injured Italian. He finished with 28 points, averaging 24.3 over the last three games, once again being the biggest part of when the Nuggets played their best basketball in a very sloppy game, finishing with a +30 during his 34 minutes on the floor.
It wasn’t a very good performance from Denver. Like the Spurs, they shot very badly from the field, especially in the first half, finishing with a respectable 45.3% from the field in the end. They turned the ball over 17 times, but when they pushed up the tempo during the second half, the Spurs, still without Parker and Ginobili, led by Tim Duncan scoring 17 points, simply couldn’t catch up.
A big reason for the turnovers but also for the resilient play is Andre Iguodala, getting the ninth triple double of his career and his first since becoming a Nuggets player. He ended up scoring 12 points, adding 13 rebounds, 10 assists and 3 steals, not to mention 7 turnovers in what could have been the wrong quarter of a quadruple-double.
Most importantly, beyond all the individual notable performances, the Nuggets continue to show that this team is about finding different ways to win, not only through run & gun basketball, outscoring and out-speeding opponents. They have an inside game, even if it isn’t the most reliable in the league, while their bench can come up with a solution for almost anything. They were down 0-14 to begin the game and found a way to bounce back and win. The Nuggets are very close to clinching the number 3 spot in the West, deservedly, showing just how much confidence they have that this season will end much later than most of the George Karl tenure has gotten their fans used to.