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02-09-2013 11:37 PM

Nuggets a team to be feared?
 
After Home Blitz, Nuggets Rising in West

HANG TIME SOUTHWEST – Who’s the league’s hottest team either side of San Antonio? Don’t look now, but it’s the Denver Nuggets.

With a grueling road schedule to open the first two months of the season, some observers predicted a hard charge up the standings once the schedule turned in Denver’s favor, which it did starting Jan. 1 with 15 of 18 games to be played in the Mile-High City.

On cue, the sky’s been the limit for George Karl‘s bunch, which is riding an eight-game win streak — while averaging a whopping 115.0 ppg — as part of a larger 15-3 run since New Year’s Day. They’ve won 13 of those 15 home games and have gone 2-1 on the road.

On Dec. 29, the Nuggets had dropped to 17-15 after an ugly 82-71 loss at Memphis. At that point, Denver had played a discombobulating 23 road games, stood seventh in the West and were just one game ahead of — believe it or not — the Los Angeles Lakers. L.A. was 15-15, the last time that outfit would sniff .500.

Now the high-octane, well-balanced Nuggets are 32-18 and have pushed past Houston, Golden State and Memphis to slide into the No. 4 position in the West, a hugely significant spot for a team that’s 22-3 at home. The top four teams in each conference earn home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Only the smooth-sailing Spurs have fewer home losses (22-2) among teams in both conferences, and no team has more home wins (San Antonio and Oklahoma City each also have 22).

Of course, Karl’s previous seven seasons in Denver have been marked by first-round disappointments six times and twice the Nuggets have wasted a top-four finish by not getting out of the conference quarterfinals (2006 and 2010). Only the 2008-09 Nuggets, who finished second in the West, made it out, with Carmelo Anthony finally taking the team all the way to the West finals before losing to the Lakers.

So home-court advantage isn’t a free pass into the second round, but would the run-and-gun Nuggets rather play four of seven games in the high altitude or, say, in the madhouse that is Golden State’s Oracle Arena?

So now the schedule evens out. Denver has played 25 games at home and 25 on the road (10-15), and next up is a four-game Eastern Conference road swing, including two back-to-backs: Cleveland (Saturday) and Boston (Sunday), followed by Toronto (Tuesday) and Brooklyn (Wednesday).

For the rest of the article and comments click here: http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2013/0...s=iref:nbahpts

02-09-2013 11:38 PM

What does everyone think? They are on a 9 game winning streak and look like the most balanced team in the West.

Mogulseeker 02-09-2013 11:39 PM

Isn't the mantra "they need a star to win in the playoffs" or something...

02-09-2013 11:41 PM

<table class="tablehead" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tbody><tr class="oddrow"><td class="pr-rank">1</td><td>San Antonio
38-11
</td><td>--

Last Week: 1</td><td>The Spurs launch their annual Rodeo Road Trip without Tim Duncan. No one in the Alamo City can moan too loudly, though, after TD survived that nasty fall with no structural damage ... and coming off a virtual bye week with only those cushy home games against the Bobcats and Wiz.</td></tr><tr class="evenrow"><td class="pr-rank">2</td><td>Oklahoma City
35-12
</td><td>--

Last Week: 2</td><td>OKC has always insisted outsiders make a bigger deal about Russell Westbrook's blowups than his teammates and coaches do. Not quite sure how RW can be mad at anyone but himself given how poorly he's shot the ball lately, nor are we sure we can dismiss this outburst so readily.</td></tr><tr class="oddrow"><td class="pr-rank">3</td><td>Miami
30-14
</td><td>--

Last Week: 3</td><td>This really only matters if these teams hook up in the playoffs again, but it was fairly eye-catching (at least to us) to read that the Heat have managed a mere eight points in transition in their two losses to the Pacers this season. The champs average just over 17 transition points nightly.</td></tr><tr class="evenrow"><td class="pr-rank">4</td><td>Denver
30-18
</td><td>1
Last Week: 5</td><td>No team has ever won it all in a season it didn't have at least one All-Star. But shouldn't we at least hat-tip Denver for being the best team on this season's list ahead of the Bobcats, Bucks, Hawks, Hornets, Jazz, Kings, Magic, Mavericks, Nets, Pistons, Raptors, Suns, Wolves and Wiz? </td></tr><tr class="oddrow"><td class="pr-rank">5</td><td>Golden State
30-17
</td><td>3
Last Week: 8</td><td>Relief for grieving 49ers fans: Andrew Bogut is back and just sparked a 4-0 week for a team that made it through January with a .600-plus winning percentage for only the second time in (whoa) 35 seasons. Just in time, too, with the Dubs' better-than-expected rebounding starting to slip.</td></tr><tr class="evenrow"><td class="pr-rank">6</td><td>Los Angeles
34-15
</td><td>2
Last Week: 4</td><td>It was all going so well in Clipperland. Remember when they reeled off 24 wins in a span of 27 outings? Now it's all road games, trade rumors and fretting about the knee bruise that has prevented CP3 from playing in nine of the Clips' past 11 games. Or halting their 2-6 skid.</td></tr><tr class="oddrow"><td class="pr-rank">7</td><td>Indiana
28-19
</td><td>1
Last Week: 6</td><td>Thirteen straight wins at the Pacers' famed fieldhouse is the streak on the line when Chicago shows up Monday night. Better yet: Indy ranks No. 2 in the East in terms of plus/minus -- adding the total of road wins to home losses -- at a robust plus-7. Miami is tops at plus-9.</td></tr><tr class="evenrow"><td class="pr-rank">8</td><td>Memphis
30-16
</td><td>1
Last Week: 7</td><td>As mentioned in various corners of the Weekend Dime, I really don't think this team's ceiling has changed as drastically as many suggested in the wake of the Rudy Gay deal. Yet we'll have to see how long it takes Gay's ex-teammates and coaches to get over their initial disappointment.</td></tr><tr class="oddrow"><td class="pr-rank">9</td><td>Chicago
29-18
</td><td>2
Last Week: 11</td><td>As banged up as the Bulls are, they continue to sport the NBA's highest road winning percentage, vaulting Tom Thibodeau past Mike Woodson when it comes to the East's most worthy COY contenders. The Bulls also move back into the top 10 and, to be honest, never should have left.</td></tr><tr class="evenrow"><td class="pr-rank">10</td><td>New York
30-15
</td><td>1
Last Week: 9</td><td>Let's not completely discount a four-game win streak, all at home, that includes W's over two of the most poundable foes you can find these days: Orlando and Sacramento. The Knicks deserve a little better when they sport one of the East's two winning records against .500-or-better teams.

For the rest of the power Rankings and view comments click here: http://espn.go.com/nba/powerrankings
</td></tr></tbody></table>

02-09-2013 11:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MariusPontmercy (Post 3795266)
Isn't the mantra "they need a star to win in the playoffs" or something...

HAHA See power rankings comments!! good call.

KipCorrington25 02-10-2013 12:05 AM

Will they take a knee in crutch time? Tell me now so I don't waste a lot of time following them.

extralife 02-10-2013 01:12 AM

They are to be mildly feared.

I think they'd give anyone a series, but I still find it hard to think of a scenario in which they beat OKC or San Antonio. Everyone knows the drill by now: everything they are good at becomes more difficult to pull off in the playoffs. Coupled with how inconsistent they are on the road, things become difficult in an extended series. The depth is a pretty big deal, though.

02-10-2013 01:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by extralife (Post 3795274)
They are to be mildly feared.

I think they'd give anyone a series, but I still find it hard to think of a scenario in which they beat OKC or San Antonio. Everyone knows the drill by now: everything they are good at becomes more difficult to pull off in the playoffs. Coupled with how inconsistent they are on the road, things become difficult in an extended series. The depth is a pretty big deal, though.

I think if the Nugs keep running and use their bench they can beat San Antonio in a 7 game series. OKC though is a different story.

tesnyde 02-10-2013 05:47 AM

If they play every game like they played Chicago, and especially like they played in the 3rd, they can beat anyone. It was the best game I can remember them playing in awhile. However, they turn around and win in Cleveland but it was sloppy. Twenty turn overs and again, they let some random guy on the other team have a career shooting night. Gee went 8/8 last night and Dalembert went 17/21 for the Bucks a few night ago. They have the potential to do it, but consistent high quality is still not there. In other words, the good is they haven't reached their potential or at least consistently, but are winning. The bad is they are not playing at a constantly high level that is needed against OKC. I think today's game will be a great barometer of the team's maturity and true ability. Back end of back-to-back road games, coming off of a road win, east coast travel, against a decent opponent.

tesnyde 02-10-2013 05:55 AM

The Roundball Minining Company has a nice read with longitudinal data from the season showing how in some areas the individual players have improved and/or regressed.

http://www.roundballminingcompany.co...-three-months/

spdirty 02-10-2013 06:42 AM

If the Nuggets get the 3 seed, and OKC gets the 1 seed, that's the scenario where I can see the Nugs get to the WCF. I think it's possible that they could beat San Antonio in a series. OKC though, hell no.

It's a real fun ride, and it's a lot of fun to watch them, I just know that there is a ceiling for them which is the WCF. That's not all bad though. IF they can keep this group together, continue to develop the great young talent that they have, they could possibly go farther in the future. I enjoy watching them even if I know an NBA Finals will not happen this year.

It would be so much fun if they could somehow get the Lakers in a first round series and beat them. Just because I want to see the Nugs beat the damn Lakers in a series.

RhymesayersDU 02-10-2013 07:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by extralife (Post 3795274)
They are to be mildly feared.

I think they'd give anyone a series, but I still find it hard to think of a scenario in which they beat OKC or San Antonio. Everyone knows the drill by now: everything they are good at becomes more difficult to pull off in the playoffs. Coupled with how inconsistent they are on the road, things become difficult in an extended series. The depth is a pretty big deal, though.

Pretty fair assessment. I think they can/will get out of the first round this year, but past that I'm not sure. They'll give that second-round team a hell of a series though.

Kaylore 02-10-2013 07:43 AM

The good and bad thing about the Nuggets is they can beat and lose to anyone. Lately they are playing better. Early in the season they played like a young team: Inconsistent. They need to make their free throws. I have a hard time seeing them get past the Clippers or the Thunder. Westbrook single-handedly wiped the floor with them and that was with Durrant having a below average game (for him). I think they can run on the Spurs and wear them out if the series goes long, though.

02-10-2013 07:47 AM

They have to prove that they can win big games on the road and they need to tighten their defense up. If they can do that, they'll contend.

BroncoMan4ever 02-10-2013 08:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MariusPontmercy (Post 3795266)
Isn't the mantra "they need a star to win in the playoffs" or something...

Allow me introduce you to the rising stars of the Nuggets, TY LAWSON and KENNETH "MANIMAL" FARIED!

http://cache4.asset-cache.net/gc/153...Osnj7%2B01Y2k3

rmsanger 02-10-2013 09:15 AM

No

NFLBRONCO 02-10-2013 09:26 AM

Karl great in reg season playoffs very Manning like

OBF1 02-10-2013 09:30 AM

Damn... I thought all the kool aid was used up during the NFL season, A new stash must have been passed around. Never discount the Spurs, everyone one of you already have them beating the Number 1 team in the NBA record wise.

I guess this is how they act when their team of choice has never won a damn thing.

Amusing.

enjolras 02-10-2013 09:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CBF1 (Post 3795357)
Damn... I thought all the kool aid was used up during the NFL season, A new stash must have been passed around. Never discount the Spurs, everyone one of you already have them beating the Number 1 team in the NBA record wise.

I guess this is how they act when their team of choice has never won a damn thing.

Amusing.

Spurs have more questions than the Nuggets. They sputtered to the finish line last year. They're old at the key positions. Popovich insures that they'll win a ton of regular season games, but as benches shorten in the playoffs I'm not sure they have the legs for it.

The Nuggets are in a similar position tho. They're fun as hell to watch, but have no chance of winning anything in the postseason.

spdirty 02-10-2013 01:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CBF1 (Post 3795357)
Damn... I thought all the kool aid was used up during the NFL season, A new stash must have been passed around. Never discount the Spurs, everyone one of you already have them beating the Number 1 team in the NBA record wise.

I guess this is how they act when their team of choice has never won a damn thing.

Amusing.

You're ****in making **** up again. Show me a comment in this thread where someone said the Nuggets are going to beat the Spurs in the playoffs. All anyone basically said was that they CAN beat the Spurs if they play their best.

Rascal 02-10-2013 01:40 PM

they might make it past round 1, but they won't make it past round 2....as usual

DenverBrit 02-10-2013 02:10 PM

Until they play defense for all 4 qtrs, it's difficult to see them getting past the second round.

But they are growing up quickly and are a lot of fun to watch.

It's Billyball (Tubbs) with some defense.

tesnyde 02-10-2013 03:35 PM

Slow start against Boston.

spdirty 02-10-2013 05:15 PM

Oh yeah, a bull**** technical on Faried then they blow an out of bounds call on Pierce. It was clearly off of Pierce's hands. I swear, every time I start getting into this ****, they just try to ruin it with at the very least incompetent refs.

spdirty 02-10-2013 05:23 PM

Oh my God. Then they do that. I'm a Nuggets fan, but how in the hell is that Nuggets ball?


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