The Denver Nuggets continue to win despite star player Ty Lawson missing seven of the last eight games with a plantar fascia tear in his right foot. They also tied a franchise record with 20 straight home victories without the team’s second-leading scorer, Danilo Gallinari, who is out for the season after suffering a torn ACL of his left knee.
We have all been made aware of just how deep this team is, and how Coach George Karl can win with virtually anybody on the roster in the starting lineup. Andre Miller, Wilson Chandler and Corey Brewer have shown their abilities now and in the NBA before playing for Denver. These are relatively big names to be coming off the bench, and they handle the pressure very well.
What may be surprising are key contributions from names such as Evan Fournier, Jordan Hamilton and Anthony Randolph. These players continue to impress, and the Nuggets would certainly be a different team without them. Randolph and other reserves are needed now more than ever as injuries hamper the playoff hopes of the Nuggets and fans.
In the last game against the Houston Rockets, Randolph played 22 minutes, shot seven for ten for 14 points, collected seven rebounds and added four steals. These numbers blow his season and career numbers out of the water. Since joining the NBA in 2008, Randolph has only started 38 games and has certainly learned his role on the Nuggets roster.
Randolph played one year in college for Louisiana State University, where he averaged 15.6 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks over 31 games. He had nine double-doubles, nine 20-plus scoring games and was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team. He was drafted 14th overall by the Golden State Warriors in 2008 and has also played for the Minnesota Timberwolves and New York Knicks.
Randolph is a 6 foot 11 inch Forward who was born in Germany to military parents. He spent most of his childhood in Pasadena, California and now is helping the Nuggets down the homestretch of the regular season. He will be 24 this July and with Gallo out will be getting a lot more playing time in very crucial games.
The Nuggets will be tested in their last five games of the regular season, and hopefully Lawson will be back in time for a postseason run. Miller and Fournier have shown they can step in and make up for the absence of Lawson. With Gallinari out for the season, Chandler and Randolph are needed now more than ever to perform at a high level.
The Nuggets look as though they will finish with home-court advantage and that will be very important in helping the team win the close games in the playoffs. Randolph and other reserves will have to play a Nuggets’ style of basketball in order to give the team a chance to maybe make a run to the Western Conference Finals.