Is the toughest playoff game the one where Team A is looking to clinch the series with a win versus Team B?
The series will now shift back to Denver, where the Nuggets won one game earlier in the series (Game 3) and lost in Game 4 by a small margin.
Ty Lawson may be the future point guard in Denver, but the experience of veteran Andre Miller is a big reason why the Nuggets were able to hold on for a key victory. While Lawson provides the speed and tempo of the game, Miller provides the veteran “smarts” that allow his teammates to thrive and become more productive.
This is no knock against Lawson, but he is still developing his game while Miller is looking to share his basketball knowledge.
Miller was able to handle his own against Lakers guard Steve Blake and controlled the offense for the Nuggets, throwing alley-oops to athletic center JaVale McGee or choosing to drive the basketball into the lane.
Additionally, Miller got great production out of big men McGee and rookie Kenneth Faried. McGee is an athletic talent who lacks maturity, but the steady Miller brought out the positives.
Faried is an aggressive rookie who has been impressive this season and continues to work hard in the paint just with his sheer grit and tenacity. Miller and McGee combined to score 45 points while Faried pitched in 10 points on 5-for-5 shooting.
At the end of the day, the Nuggets got great production out of their big men and Miller when they needed it the most. If the Nuggets hope to extend the series they will need this to continue as with each additional game, every possession matters that much more.