The Denver Nuggets took a big step in securing their playoff spot on Sunday and they did it by getting out on the run and they ran their way into 7th seed and ran the Houston Rockets out of the gym.
While it was a big game, lets not get carried away – the Nuggets still have a tough road ahead and Denver will face a much tougher opponent in the playoffs.
Don’t get me wrong, the Nuggets played great on Sunday. Nearly perfect. They forced Houston into missed shots and turnovers and got out on the fast break. Something that is Denver’s strength, but also something that the Nuggets can’t depend on in the playoffs.
The Rockets have been one of the biggest surprises in the NBA. They have a solid group of players, but no superstars and have gotten by due to their superior outside shooting. They lack a real talented low-post scorer and their offense is built around the play of Goran Dragic. The Nuggets took Dragic out of the game early, holding him to only 12 points and forcing him into four turnovers.
As a team, Denver forced 17 turnovers and turned them into 26 points. They also took advantage of the Rockets’ second-half struggles. It was the third straight loss for Houston, second in which the Rockets were outplayed in the second half.
On one play, JaVale McGee blocked a Chase Budinger shot which led to a Corey Brewer for a fast-break basket.
- Arron Afflalo couldn’t miss, he scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half and made 8 out of 10 shots in the half.
- Once again, Brewer was big for the Nuggets on the defensive side of the ball. He defended Dragic and Kyle Lowry late and got out and ran. He also scored 14 points, which was the most he has scored since March 30.
- Kenneth Faried’s energy in the second half was another spark for the Nuggets. He may not be the first to the ball, but he outworks all of the other players for the ball. He did just that Sunday, finishing with 10 points and 11 rebounds. He also had a massive block on Courtney Lee’s fast-break basket.
- McGee played another solid game for the Nuggets. He only had one foul, scored seven points and grabbed six rebounds. He also could be seen on the sidelines cheering on his teammates.
Sunday’s game was huge for the Nuggets, but Denver isn’t out of the woods yet with six games left in the season. It isn’t out of the question that Denver could go 6-0 or 2-4.