The Denver Nuggets pulled out a gusty 102-99 road victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night, and the game carried some serious historical significance beyond the immediate truth that the Nuggets are still alive in the 2012 NBA Playoffs. As noted by Andrew Feinstein of SB Nation's Denver Nuggets blog, Denver Stiffs, the Nuggets won an elimination playoff game on the road for the first time in franchise history on Tuesday night.
Most of the praise should go to JaVale McGee and Andre Miller. McGee bothered Andrew Bynum all night long, and shined again with 21 points on 9-12 shooting and a game-high 14 rebounds -- including six big offensive rebounds. As for Miller, the veteran point guard led the Nuggets with 24 points on 8-11 shooting to go with eight assists and came up with some huge buckets down the stretch to protect the lead.
Here what Feinstein has to say in reaction to the unexpected win over at Denver Stiffs:
Karl's victory was delivered largely by McGee. A raw, rangy kid who is having a coming out party of sorts in this series and is making Nuggets' vice president Masai Ujiri look like a wizard for dumping Nene's bad contract on the NBA's Wizards to bring McGee to Denver. McGee was dominant on both ends of the floor throughout the fourth quarter while flustering and frustrating the Lakers' whiny bigs - Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol - into sub-par games. The only downside to McGee's performance is that he's going to cost the Nuggets a bloody fortune to re-sign him this summer.
Stepping up alongside McGee was the savvy veteran Miller. Karl - as we know all too well here at Denver Stiffs - has been riding Miller all season long. Especially in the fourth quarter. Karl trusts and admires Miller, and Miller rewarded Karl's trust Tuesday night with one of his greatest performances ever as a pro: 24 points on 8-11 shooting and 8 assists ... off the bench! Moreover, Miller's shots were timely daggers that the Lakers couldn't recover from.