The situation seemed all too familiar—up by 14 at half against an opponent who really had no business even being that close. Having scored at least 40 points in a single quarter in the first half, Denver entered the third quarter where they struggled so mightily on Sunday night against the Timberwolves.
It was almost as if the gods of basketball karma were testing the Nuggets resolve and resiliency to see if they had truly learned their lesson.
And apparently they did.
The Nuggets did not fall prey to their own peril on this night however. What they lacked in intensity against the Timberwolves on Sunday, they made up for in the third quarter against the Warriors.
There was no let down. There were no lapses in concentration. There was no sense that the Nuggets thought this game was already in the bag.
In fact, what came to be on the court Tuesday night, and especially in the third quarter, was perhaps the Nuggets finest example of all around team play on display so far this season.
Despite taking nearly an identical number of shots from the floor (Denver took 95 and Golden State 94), the Nuggets doubled the Warriors assist total with 30 for the night. This speaks volumes to the quality of shots they were getting, and they did so by staying active and getting everyone involved. In fact, every single player for the Nuggets scored at least four points.
Carmelo Anthony continued to impress with 25 points on the night, and Chauncey Billups seems to finally be getting his legs under him adding 22 points and 8 assists of his own.
Nene was a beast all night (18 points,12 rebounds, 2 blocks) and Chris "Birdman" Anderson had perhaps his strongest performance of the season (14 points, 8 rebounds, 5 blocks). Both were a huge factor in the Nuggets dominance on the boards, out-rebounding the Warriors 57-33.
Arguably the most valuable performance of the night came from rookie Ty Lawson. His impact cannot be seen as much in his numbers (13 points, five rebounds, five assists) as it can in his contagious energy and his command over the tempo of the game. He has been a catalyst for this Nuggets team time after time this season, and his influence tonight should not go unnoticed.
This win, while impressive, should not pacify all concerns that arose from their lackluster performance the other night against a bad Timberwolves team. I am still apprehensive about our lack of intensity and focus at times, but I'm hoping Sunday's loss can be used as fuel for their fire as the season progresses.
It sure worked tonight as the Nuggets bounced back to the victory column in impressive fashion.