The Denver Nuggets won the opening tip Friday night in the Pepsi Center. That was the highlight of their night.
The Cavs went into the Mile High City in a much-anticipated game against the Nuggets and rolled Denver up in short order on their way to a 105-88 win. Cleveland forced the action almost from jump and led after one quarter 37-21. The Nuggets tried to play catch up all night long, once cutting the Cavs lead to 9 points, but the Cavs were simply too much for the Nuggets to overcome.
The Cavs pushed the ball up the court and played excellent defense against the up tempo Nuggets. Their switches and defensive rotations were well-executed and frustrated Denver for nearly all 48 minutes.
The match up between LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony never really materialized. James got all the looks he wanted despite numerous traps and double teams and when the King wasn't pouring in some of his 33 points he was grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing out 8 assists. Anthony, clearly frustrated, scored just 13 points on 5-14 shooting before fouling out with 4 minutes left in the game.
Delonte West was the beneficiary of numerous LBJ assists as he looked at open shots all night long. West scored 22 points and had 4 assists of his own. Zydrunas Ilgauskas returned to action Friday night and went off early while finishing with 23 points including 2/3 from 3-point range.
Chauncey Billups led the Nuggets with 16 points.
But the Cavs maintained their composure and stayed focus which is a huge improvement in general from this team. The Cavs go into each game with a plan and a defensive mentality and they're not getting pushed off of it by opponents or officials.
It's a departure from years past but the Cavs are forcing their will and their style of play on other teams and you can see their confidence and resolve grow stronger each night.
They Got Next
The Cavs are 2-0 thus far on this 3 game roadie. They finish the trip Sunday at 7pm in Oklahoma City against the Thunder before returning home Tuesday at 7pm against the Houston Rockets.