The defense needs improving, that goes without saying. They give up a lot of points, but score a lot themselves. A victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on the road Tuesday night showed that you can give up 104 points and still win the game going away. The Thunder are the league’s leading team in points per game and just missed their season average against the Nuggets, but lost the game.
Coach George Karl‘s methods of a fast-paced game rooted in teamwork have paid off of late and the Nuggets are slowly becoming a team gaining recognition. It’s a hard thing to do considering the way the Miami Heat have been playing recently, taking up virtually all the media attention and discussion.
The Nuggets lead the league in fastbreak points per game at 19.8, and this figure jumps to 21.4 in games at the Pepsi Center. And despite not having a monster center that posts up constantly, the Nuggets also lead the league in points in the paint per game at 58, a full 12 points ahead of second place. Kosta Koufos and JaVale McGee might not be Shaq, but they play well in the offense the team runs.
The athletic abilities of Andre Iguodala, Danilo Gallinari, Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried give the Nuggets the ability to push the pace and score easy baskets.
With the Philadelphia 76ers coming to town Thursday night, the Nuggets look to extend their streak to 14 games overall and 16 straight at the Pepsi Center. The 76ers are 30th overall in points per game, the absence of Andrew Bynum certainly playing a role, but are only allowing 96.2 points per game. The Nuggets should win this game easily, putting up way more points than 96.
The 76ers are also playing the Los Angeles Clippers in LA the night before they travel to Denver, so look for them to be fatigued and struggling with the pace. We may even see appearances by Timofey Mozgov, Jordan Hamilton, Evan Fournier and Anthony Randolph coming off the bench to get some playing time and seal the game.
The Nuggets should feasibly extend their streak to 16 games playing at home against the 76ers and the Sacramento Kings, then traveling to play the lowly New Orleans Hornets after these two home games. This would be a new team record for the Nuggets, having won 15 games in a row while still in the ABA.
It’s crunch time and the Nuggets would really secure their chances of making it past the first round by locking up home-court advantage. The regular season is winding down and the Nuggets are kicking it up a notch when it matters the most. You never know what a team can do when they’re playing hot going into the post-eason.