The Denver Nuggets are comfortably in the mix of the NBA Playoff-picture in the Western Conference. The Nuggets are currently at 38-22 and are in fifth-place in the West. However, it’s likely that they would have fallen from that spot had Ty Lawson not been playing like a superstar over the past few weeks.
Lawson is having a solid season as a whole. He’s averaging 16.5 points, 7.1 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game while shooting 44.7 percent from the field. That kind of production is more than serviceable, particularly in Denver where head coach George Karl has a deeply instilled team concept where a large group of guys contribute. However, Lawson’s season-numbers pale in comparison to his stats over the Nuggets’ last 10 games.
Over those 10 contests, Lawson is averaging 23.1 points, 7.6 assists and 3.5 boards, while shooting 49.7 percent from the field. For that 10-games stretch, Lawson is leading Denver in both points and assists per game.
Denver is 6-4 over their last 10 games and it feels pretty safe to say that they would most likely be under-.500 for that stretch had Lawson not been playing the way he has. The next leading scorers for the Nuggets are Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler, both at just 13.7 points per game. Lawson has been the pulse of this team over that stretch, scoring consistently and hitting the big shots.
His contributions of late were never more evident than on Friday night in their win over the Oklahoma City Thunder when Lawson hit the game-winning shot with just 0.2 seconds remaining on the clock. The important part to note is that Lawson was actually having a poor game scoring-wise on Friday, finishing with just 11 points on 5-14 shooting. However, he’s been playing with such confidence in his game and with such force that he had the poise to get that final shot off and put the game away.
As the playoffs are less than two months away, the Nuggets are going to need Lawson to continue showing this display of self-assurance on a nightly basis. He’s not going to have to score 20-plus points per game every night, but he’s going to need to be the guy that makes big plays in big moments. He’s showing that he has that ability over the last couple weeks. If the Nuggets are going to be competitive in the postseason, it’s going to have to continue.