The Denver Nuggets were able to keep their season alive in Game 4 against the Golden State Warriors and Aaron Gordon finally found his offensive stride, scoring 21 points and playing a crucial defensive role.
As it stands, Denver is down 3-1 in the series against the Warriors with Game 5 in San Francisco on Wednesday night. The Nuggets will once again have to play its best brand of basketball as they set to go back to the Chase Center one of the toughest places to play in the NBA.
With that being said, the Denver Nuggets will hopefully have to have one of its core players at the top of his game once again as he was in Game 4.
Since the Denver Nuggets acquired Gordon at the 2021 trade deadline, he has been known to be effective both on the offensive side and the defensive side.
Yes, Aaron Gordon has had his ups in downs in the playoffs over the past two seasons, but he was exceptional in last year’s playoffs as well as the late-season surge after Jamal Murray’s injury.
In the series against the Portland Trail Blazers, Gordon averaged 12.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in the six-game series. He was essential in stopping Damian Lillard and was the primary defender down the end of that series.
In the second-round series against the Phoenix Suns, Aaron Gordon was less effective, only averaging nine points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.5 assists along with not being able to figure out Chris Paul and Devin Booker defensively. Denver ended up getting swept and it was a forgettable series for both player and team.
So we’ve seen the best and worst of AG in the playoffs and in the first-round matchup with the Dubs, Aaron Gordon has already had plenty of ups and downs.
In Game 1, Gordon scored only eight points with five rebounds. In Game 2, he only managed seven points, five rebounds, and three assists. On top of that, Gordon and the Nuggets were not able to figure out how to stop Jordan Poole, Klay Thompson, and Stephen Curry and Denver was blown out in their two games in the Bay.
The secret sauce that worked against the smaller guards in Portland in the 2021 playoffs wasn’t working a year later.
When Denver returned back home for Games 3 and 4, Gordon had much better performances as he scored 18 points with 12 rebounds, and four assists in Game 3. The Nuggets were much more competitive in Game 3 than they were in games one and two.
In Denver’s Game 4 victory over the Warriors, Gordon scored 21 points while pulling down six rebounds and dishing out four assists. In both the Denver home games, Gordon and the Nuggets were playing with much more energy and they were certainly much better defensively than they had been.
Even in Game 4, Denver and Gordon were able to keep one of the most effective players on the Warriors roster Jordan Poole in check with Poole only scoring 11 points in his 39 minutes of play. That was certainly another big reason why the Nuggets were able to steal a game away from Golden State.
While the Nuggets will need other players like Monte Morris, Will Barton, Bones Hyland and Austin Rivers alongside Nikola Jokic to help the Nuggets take down the Warriors. There is no secret that Denver will absolutely need Aaron Gordon to play at the top of his game if Denver has any shot at coming back in this series.
It’s a tough battle for Gordon to be the other guy alongside Jokic but that is how the ball dropped in a normal year Gordon would be the fourth leading scorer on the team. Denver didn’t get AG to be the second-leading scorer on this team they got him for his defense, his energy, athleticism, and his ability to be the fourth scorer on this Nuggets team to complement Jokic, Michel Porter Jr., and Jamal Murray.
When Gordon comes ready to play so usually do the Nuggets it is a very positive sign that Gordon has had back-to-back games scoring double-digit points and contributing on the rebounding department while also bringing the energy and also the toughness to the floor that this team needs.
Chances are if Aaron Gordon plays as he did in Denver, the Nuggets have a shot at upsetting the Warriors or at least making it a series. We shall see soon if he can do that for Denver all of the signs are pointing in the right direction.