The Denver Nuggets won their 50th game of the season for the fourth straight year following their 134-11 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Monday night. Nine of the 10 Nuggets who played in the game scored in double digits, helping the team to a 53.2 field goal percentage.
J.R. Smith led the Nuggets with 22 points, though fellow reserve Chris Andersen finished with a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds. He blocked four shots and stole the ball twice, as well. Ty Lawson, who made 10 three-pointers in Saturday's game, hit only one tonight, but he did score 14 points, dish out the ball for nine assists and pull down six rebounds. Fellow point guard Raymond Felton outdid Lawson with a 15-point, 10-assist night.
Sparingly-used Kosta Koufos put up a season-high 18 points and fell one rebound short of a double-double with nine on the night. Melvin Ely was the only player not to score in double digits, actually scoring zero points because he played only two minutes.
The Warriors weren't able to overcome the powerful Nuggets offense despite 27 points each from Stephen Curry and Dorrell Wright. They were outrebounded, 49-37, and made just 21 trips to the free throw line (Denver made 24-of-35 free throw attempts).
The Nuggets (50-31, 33-8 home) have clinched the No. 5 spot in the Western Conference playoffs and play their last game of the regular season on Wednesday in a road game against the Utah Jazz.
The Denver Nuggets are looking to notch a 50th win for the fourth consecutive season when they face the Golden State Warriors this evening at the Pepsi Center. Should the Nuggets win either of their final two games they would not only get that historically elusive 50th win, but they would clinch the fifth seed in the Western Conference.
As SB Nation's Nuggets blog, Denver Stiffs, points out prior to their current consecutive 50-win streak, the Nuggets had gone TWO DECADES before reaching the milestone, and only had done it three times TOTAL since the franchise joined the NBA in 1976-77.
For the Nuggets to win, clinch the fifth seed and secure their 50th win, they simply need to continue playing like they did in Saturday's 130-106 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. And by simply, I mean that Ty Lawson should keep shooting from behind the arc.
In Saturday's victory, Lawson became the first player in NBA history to make his first 10 3-point attempts, paving the way to a career-high 37 points.
Now some would argue that when your point guard is taking all your shots -- scoring all your points -- the team dynamics suffer, but the Nuggets continued their impressive team play by registering eight players in double figures. Besides Lawson, J.R. Smith (18), Al Harrington (12), Kenyon Martin (12), Raymond Felton (11), Kosta Koufos (11), Nene (10) and Gary Forbes (10) all contributed double digits to the win.
When you throw it all together, you should have a pretty high scoring game tonight. Denver ranks first in the NBA in points per game, while the Warriors are seventh, led by streaky Monta Ellis.
The biggest question of the night, and over the final two games, will most likely be the Nuggets first round opponent in the playoffs. The Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers are currently tied with identical 55-25 records, while the Oklahoma City Thunder sit a game behind them in fourth place. Depending on how the final two games go, the Nuggets could face any one of those teams.
Tonight's game tips at 7:oo p.m. and can be seen on Altitude or in person at the Pepsi Center.