Monday Morning Point Guard

Time to Pay Attention to Streaking Nuggets
By Zach CohnCreated: 02.04.2013 - 8:41 am mtMile High Hoops

There is no debate. Denver is a football town.

The Broncos are, and will forever be, top dog in the eyes of Colorado sports fans. But now that the Super Bowl has come and gone and we bid adieu to the 2013 football campaign, Denver sports fans can turn their attention to another sports team in town, and that is the red hot Denver Nuggets.

While you were still wallowing in the sorrow of that epic Broncos collapse at the hands of the Ravens – who are now Super Bowl champs - the Denver Nuggets have been quietly going about their business. In fact, they are now one of the hottest teams in the NBA.

After enduring a brutal early season schedule that featured 17 of their first 23 games on the road, the Nuggets have benefited from a recent run of games taking place in the friendly confines of the Pepsi Center.

The Nuggets have won six in a row and 13 of 16. In the month of January, the Nuggets absolutely balled. If not for a few hiccups against the Timberwolves and the Wizards - both perplexing losses - they would have been nearly perfect. Their only other loss in that stretch was to Oklahoma City, who is once again one of the favorites to represent the West in the NBA Finals.

On Christmas Day, the Nugs were 15-14 and barely dangling in the playoff picture. Today, they are 30-18, and are battling for a superior playoff position. Now that they are in a dogfight for the West’s fourth seed, Nuggets fans have something to smile about. The fourth seed would be unbelievably important if the Nuggets actually want to make any noise in the playoffs.

Because as we all know, the Nuggets are darn good at making the playoffs. They are one of only three teams to qualify for bonus basketball each of the last nine years. But we also know they are darn good at getting bounced from the playoffs in the first round. They have only got past the first round once since the Nuggets became relevant again in 2004.

The majority of the first round exits are because the Nuggets have generally been seeded fifth through eighth, and do not have home court advantage. Going on the road and playing a superior team is not easy, and the Nuggs have been stuck in a first round playoff rut because they have always been behind the home court advantage eight ball.

If the Nuggets can secure that coveted home court advantage in the first round, who knows how far they can advance? They are literally one of the best teams at home in the league. With a 20-3 record, only the Spurs have a better record playing at home.

Bottom line is the Nuggets are taking caring of business of late and playing solid team basketball. They don’t have an all-star on the roster, but they have a deep cast of characters that are statistically stellar. They can score at a high rate - their 104 points per game are fourth best in the league. Their frontline crashes the glass hard – their 45 rebounds per game are 3rd best in the NBA. And the Nuggets are very good at sharing the rock – their 23 assists are second best. If the Nuggets continue to assist, rebound, and score at this rate, they will continue to climb the West Standings, and continue to improve their all-important playoff position.

So now that football season is no more, let us turn our attention to the Denver Nuggets, because they are legitimately playing like one of the best teams in the NBA. Move aside Broncos, this is Nuggets Country now… at least for the next five months.

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