The Denver Nuggets don't have a superstar player, but they often get superstar performances. Armed with Ty Lawson, Andre Iguodala, Wilson Chandler and even JaVale McGee, this team boasts a number of players capable of taking over a single game at any given moment.
In Saturday's 97-95 Game 1 win over the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs, the Nuggets got one of those efforts. Except it didn't come from Lawson, Iggy or one of the usual suspects for such things.
It came from Andre Miller, age 37.
A team filled with explosive athletes and youthful exuberance, the Nuggets often win games with a degree of excitement and flair. But it was Miller, with a game tailored to compensate for increasingly poor hops and an inability to simply blow by defenders, who came through with the clutch performance in the team's first appearance on the big stage.
As his younger and less experienced teammates often struggled with their shots against an active Warriors defense, Miller pried and plotted, finding openings and expertly running the offense. He finished the game with 28 points on 11 of 16 shooting, plus five assists, in just 27 minutes.
With the game tied at 95 and just seconds remaining, everything on the line, the Nuggets didn't run a play for one of their younger stars. They ran an isolation for Miller, recognizing that this was his turn to be the Nuggets' leading man.
And as Miller did throughout the game, he found the opening, patiently waited for the right moment during his abbreviated flight, and flipped up a reverse layup that would throw the Pepsi Center crowd into a frenzy.
In his prime, Miller was never a scorer. His game was always about setting up others, running the offense and taking shots as they come. Even after arguably his best scoring effort in years, when asked what he loved so much about Miller's game, Nuggets coach George Karl responded, 'His passing and his winning."
But he came through Saturday when his team needed points. As Karl said, Miller's game isn't just about passing -- it's about winning. Sometimes, that can mean being the man, which is exactly what he was in Game 1.
Karl quotes via NBA.com's live postgame press conference stream.