Wilson Chandler Vying for Sixth Man Honors Coming Off Denver Nuggets' Bench

By Joseph Newsome
Mike DiNovo-USA Today Sports

The Denver Nuggets have won 12 straight games, tying the longest winning streak of the team’s history in the NBA.  They won 15 in a row while still in the ABA during the 1969-70 season and have only won 12 in a row once before, during the 1981-82 season.

They went into the United Center on Monday night and beat the Chicago Bulls in a nail-biter that couldn’t be decided in regulation.  The teams went into overtime after Ty Lawson missed a step-back jumper that would’ve closed out the Bulls in a similar fashion to his last-second shot against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Lawson was reportedly suffering flu-like symptoms before and during the game and his last shot could attest to that.

The starters for the Nuggets were outscored 101-48, so needless to say the bench really had to step it up this game in order to come out of Chicago with a fifth straight road victory.  The reserves for the Nuggets outscored the Bulls 71-17 and they helped the Nuggets win their first game on the road against a winning team since beating the Houston Rockets on January 23rd.

The Nuggets led by as many as ten in the fourth quarter, and appeared to have a hold of the game from early on.  The Bulls battled back though and looked like they might steal it from the red-hot Nuggets in overtime.

Denver is still only the second hottest team in the league, as the Miami Heat squeaked out a close one in New England against the Boston Celtics.  They have now won 23 in a row, almost doubled the Nuggets streak.

Wilson Chandler was the main man off the bench leading all scorers with 35, tying a career high.  ‘Ill Wil’ also secured nine rebounds and led his team in minutes.  He was the force the Nuggets needed while the starters struggled offensively.

The Nuggets found a way to win the game but couldn’t stop lil’ Nate Robinson.  He scored 34 and added seven assists and sometimes it seemed the Nuggets couldn’t stop him from driving to the hoop.  I’m glad we shut the little man up and didn’t give him a chance to hit a game winner at the end of the overtime period.

It looked as though the Bulls would pull ahead on a basket which was later ruled to be offensive goaltending as Joakim Noah clearly illegally tipped the ball into the basket.

Rumors swirled that maybe Derrick Rose would be back for this game, ultimately he didn’t and the Bulls lost a close game at home.

The Nuggets only led in the rebounding category, getting out-shot in all major facets of the game.  They also turned the ball over more and it really looked like they were going to let the game slip away.  Andre Iguodala hit a huge three-pointer to take a one point lead in the waning seconds of overtime and the team walked away with a win.

Chandler may start getting some attention for Sixth-Man of the Year honors after a game like this.  He comes up huge when others struggle and seems to relish the opportunity to take the ball and score.  He shot 61.9 percent and hit eight of his nine free-throws.

It might work out best for the Nuggets as they travel to face the Thunder Tuesday night in a tough second game of a back-to-back.  The bench had to pull through for the starters against the Bulls so hopefully the starters will compensate for that and pull together for a great game against the Thunder.

If they can manage a win it’ll be the longest winning streak for the NBA Nuggets, and it will give them a chance to break the ABA record of 15.  The three games after the Thunder are against losing teams, two of which are at the Pepsi Center.

Fatigue will have to be brushed aside in order to go down to Oklahoma City and win against the league leading scorer and his sidekick Russell Westbrook.  With a big win in Chicago maybe they’ll have the momentum to steal the game and win the season series against the very talented Thunder.


Joe Newsome is a Denver Nuggets contributing writer for Rant Sports.  Follow him on Twitter @josocah, check out his Facebook page and add him to your network on Google+.






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