Just three short days ago in Houston, TX, James Harden hit a game-tying three-pointer to send the game into overtime against the visiting Denver Nuggets. The Rockets went on to win that game. However, three days later in the city of Denver, CO, a completely different story took place.
Leading for the entirety of the game, the Nuggs took a 17-point lead into the final quarter against the Houston Rockets. And yet, almost all was lost as the Nuggs nearly squandered the lead and let the Rockets come back within four before putting the game out of reach, winning 123-116.
For the Nuggets, it was the strong play of guard Randy Foye that lifted them to victory. Putting up a tremendous 30-point performance to match his equally astounding 15-assist night; Foye was feeling it. Making six of 10 three pointers, some of which were well beyond the three-point line, he was on a mission. But he didn't do it alone, as Kenneth Faried continued to show why he's a franchise player with his 23 points and nine rebounds to boot. But it was the surprising play of Timothy Mozgov that really gave the Nuggets the boost they needed, dropping his very own 22 points to accompany six rebounds and two blocks. And then there's Aaron Brooks, who chimed in for 13 points, seven assists, five rebounds, two steals and a block as well. As a whole, the Nuggs truly helped each other out when they needed each other the most. An all around team effort so to speak.
For the Rockets, it just seemed to be an off night. As not a single starter nor bench player broke into the 20-point range. The closest contender was Jeremy Lin, who went for 18 points and six assists. Playing without Dwight Howard for a seventh consecutive game, it was expected of James Harden to step in and fill those empty shoes, especially on the offensive end. But Harden just couldn't get anything going, as he went one of nine from the field. And although he made all eight of his free throws, he could only muster up 10 points in his 26 minutes of play. Already garnering a playoff spot, head coach Kevin McHale decided to sit his starters for the fourth quarter as a 17-point gap seemed too steep to overcome. Even though his bench brought him within four, it proved to be too little, too late for the Houston squad.
In yet another moral victory for the Nuggets, who will not be continuing their season past April 16, 2014 (their last game of the regular season), they must look towards the future. As the future could be a bright one with the return of a number of players from their injured roster and with the prospect of a rookie draft pick turning into a superstar. But for now, we must cheer on our Nuggets and hope for the best.