The Denver Nuggets are playing well, riding a five-game winning streak after last night's 105-94 win over the Milwaukee Bucks, a game that saw six Nuggets finish with double figures (box score via NBA.com). Team star Carmelo Anthony logged 14 points, four rebounds, and four assists, but he was ejected in the third quarter for arguing with a referee. But JR Smith, Nene, and Chauncey Billups stepped up to lead the way. Billups, still coming back from a wrist injury, gave the team 16 points and nine assists, and is starting to look like the leader who took the Nuggets to the Western Conference Finals a couple years ago. Nene used his innate power to dominate the paint against the Bucks, scoring a game-high 24 points and snagging nine rebounds.
But Smith, often the reason for coach George Karl's scowls, earned his first double-double of the year, grabbing 20 points and 10 rebounds. "This is the longest stretch of time that JR has come into this building—game day or practice—with a total, committed attitude," Karl said after the game (via The Denver Post). If Smith can sustain the effort, the Nuggets will surely climb out of third place in the Northwest Division and higher than 10th on the latest ESPN NBA power rankings.