Those of us who stayed up late enough last night to watch the Denver Nuggets play the Golden State Warriors saw a good show. The teams traded buckets down to the last minute, pushing the game into overtime. Denver found a way to come out on top, 123-118, led by Chauncey Billups’ 37 points, including 10 critical points in overtime.
Still, a couple Warriors in particular gave the Nuggets fits all night: Monta Ellis and Corey Maggette. Ellis logged 39 points and 10 assists and, as Sports Network points out, played every minute of the game.
The game didn’t have to go to overtime, however. The Palo Alto Daily News writes that both teams had a chance to win in regulation. The Nuggets missed 13 free throws, shooting a woeful 30-43 from the charity stripe (box score via Yahoo! Sports). If they’d made just one of those 13 shots, they would have won in regulation. Ether way, the Nuggets have now won five straight games and sit atop the Northwest Division with a one-game lead over the Portland Trailblazers (via NBA.com).
As some members of the media have suggested, the Nuggets may need yet another big man to ultimately compete for a championship, something Carmelo Anthony also acknowledges. He tells Sports Illustrated the team should try to find someone, but he’s not sure who’s available or who would fit in and accept a role coming off the bench.
Coach George Karl agrees but offers a more nuanced take on the matter: If the Nuggets play the New Orleans Hornets, the Phoenix Suns, and the Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs, they might be OK, Karl says. But if they go up against the San Antonio Spurs, Portland Trailblazers, and Los Angeles Lakers, they’ll likely need another big man to clog the middle of the floor. Regardless, Karl tells The Denver Post, “Financially, we’re not going to add huge dollars.”
SI notes the Nuggets are active on the trading block but don’t have any deals ready to go just yet.