The Nuggets were looking to win their 14th straight overall and number 16 in a row at the Pepsi Center. The 76ers had lost 16 straight games on the road and could surely not handle the altitude after losing to the Los Angeles Clippers in the first game of their back-to-back set.
Wrong. The Nuggets had to go without Ty Lawson and Wilson Chandler and they suffered, putting up a measly 17 points in the first quarter.
They had a seven point lead at the half, but never really seemed to be able to take and hold a lead. How in the world is this possible? Granted, the Miami Heat struggled with a lowly Cleveland Cavaliers, but the Heat came back and won that game after trailing by 27.
Coach George Karl said before the game, “I just don’t want to get down 27 tonight. We don’t shoot the three as well as Miami.”
The Nuggets led by as many as nine points and Corey Brewer stepped up in the absence of Lawson and Chandler. However, I guess it’s not so hard to believe that the team isn’t the same without Lawson and ‘Ill-Wil.’ These guys really step it up and now we all know how important they are to the team.
Just when it looked as though the Nuggets wouldn’t be able to pull it off, Brewer finished with his hot hand and nailed three free-throws after being fouled to put the Nuggets up by one with two seconds to go. He finished with a game high 29 points, scoring the last six to finish a crazy game that they probably should not have won.
Rocky, the Nuggets’ mascot, made his half-court behind the back shot while the Nuggets were down late in the fourth quarter. This was a great omen, because it looked as though the streak was over and they were actually going to lose to the 76ers at home.
They turned it around and proved Coach Karl wrong. The team actually made some free-throws and three pointers, for once.
The streak now stands at 14 despite being sluggish and sloppy. The starters struggled once again, but the team as a whole shot the three ball well (63.6 percent) and actually made crucial free-throws down the stretch (74.1 percent).
It’s frustrating when the Nuggets don’t come out and play the way they have shown they can, and when they struggle with non-playoff teams it makes fans nervous looking ahead. However, Lawson and Chandler will be back to play another day.
Chandler is reportedly going to miss three games, so hopefully Lawson is back by Saturday to keep the streak going against the Sacramento Kings. A win would give them 15 in a row, just one shy of the ABA record of 16. They also have the chance to win 16 straight at the Pepsi Center with a win over the Kings. Their home record is now a NBA best 31-3.