Remember that time last year when a bunch of Lithuanian hoops fans congregated at the Pepsi Center to do some mad crazy cheering for Linas Kleiza (discussed here)? Well, they were back in full force last night, representing for Lietuvos Respublika. Ačiū for the good luck, guys (have you seen the Nugs lose a game when they’re present?).
A Nuggets team decimated by injury beat the Atlanta Hawks — without Carmelo Anthony. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting a win. No Nene? Najera with a wonky elbow? No Melo? No chance, right? The team looked good, though. Cohesive. Camby had a double-double and some Andre-Miller-like assists to Kleiza, who scored 23 points. Kenyon Martin had a double-double; a healthy Kenyon Martin is a monster. Iverson contributed, as usual, with 29 points, and Anthony Carter had nine assists.
This was a nice win, and you almost have to feel a little warm and fuzzy about the Nuggets right now. The problem is that I’m never quite sure what to think about the team — and that reveals the real issue they’re facing this year: inconsistency. As soon as you’re happy about a win over a good opponent or the team’s awesome home record, they get pounded by the Lakers and lose all road games so far this month.
So we’ll see. Today, I’m cautiously optimistic and not thinking beyond the end of the month. January ends with one more home game, then three on the road. I think they can win at home, take two of the three road games, and hopefully avoid additional injuries.
Good luck, guys, and good thoughts to Nene for a speedy and complete recovery.