With the Nuggets on the brink of elimination, they proved they still have some heart and pride left to keep their season alive for just one more season.
The two biggest differences in the game, was the free throws differential which the Nuggets and their fans have been
asking for in this series, and the Nuggets assist to turnover ratio.
The Nuggets won the free throw battle, making 33 of 42 free throws compared to the Jazz who shot 25 and made 19. And Denver finished the game with 20 assists compared to 13 turnovers, in fact four of their turnovers were when the Nuggets were trying to push the fast break with ill-advised passes.
Grading the Nuggets
Nene - The Brazilian Center’s season is probably done with rumors of an ACL injury, which would be a big loss for the squad as Nene led the team with four assists in just 14 minutes. Nene isn’t well liked by many Nuggets fans, who want the big man to be more aggressive. However, Nene’s four assists set up 10 early points for the Nuggets as the Jazz doubled him in the post. B-
Kenyon Martin – K-Mart has been hampered by a knee injury this postseason, but Wednesday night it wasn’t bothering him. Martin scored 18 points and nine rebounds to help guide the Nuggets to victory. Probably the most surprising part was he hit 6-of-8 free throws, not bad for somebody who was barely shooting over .500 (.557) during the regular season. A-
Carmelo Anthony – Watching the contest ‘Melo played a very good all-around game, scoring, rebounding and passing the ball. However, looking at the box score you would see a different picture. He made only 7 of 19 shots and only had two assists. In this instance the box score is lying to you. B+
Arron Afflalo – The player known as AAA has been struggling with his shot. In Games 2, 3 and 4, Afflalo only hit 2 of 8 threes. However, you wouldn’t have noticed as he was perfect from the field (5-for-5 and 2-for-2 from behind the arc). He also got under Deron Williams skin in the second half, making him work for his spot. B+
Chauncey Billups – Mr. Big Shot has returned and definitely not too late. Billups was hitting on all cylinders, scoring 21 points, blocking CJ Miles, driving, pulling up for patent 3-point shot and crossing over Williams. It was a sight for sore eyes for Nuggets fans. B+
Chris Andersen – Speaking of sight for sore eyes, Birdman had only scored 11 combined points in the first four games and had only three blocks over that span as well. On top of that, he was shooting a mere .333 percent from the field. Which outright atrocious considering all he does is dunk the ball. But Wednesday the Birdman got his wings back. He soared his way in for 10 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. B
Johan Petro – Petro is a guy that Nuggets fans just seem to love, because he is a 7-footer and he doesn’t play. So when he does play well, they all wonder why he doesn’t play more. Tonight, while he wasn’t bad he wasn’t great either. Four points, six rebounds and three turnovers aren’t something you want to write home about. C
JR Smith – Who couldn’t call this, JR catching fire after two tough road losses and than calling his teammates ‘selfish’ . Anyways, somebody needs to remind JR to show up and Utah and report last night’s performance, where he is driving, dishing and taking good shots. 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting, 4-of-5 behind the arc and three assists. B+
Ty Lawson – Statistically Lawson didn’t have a great game, but he was diving on the floor, driving to the basket and hit a huge three to beat the buzzer in the second half. B
Adrian Dantley – Can’t really credit AD for this win, his team was hitting shots they were missing the last couple of games. He didn’t change a single thing. C
All photos are the courtesy of Jonathan Maness