Denver Nuggets Will Make it Past First Round of NBA Playoffs

By Joseph Newsome
Derick Hingle-US Presswire

The Denver Nuggets struggled once again without their starting point guard. Without Ty Lawson they lost 110-86 against the New Orleans Hornets, and also lost their chance to break the ABA’s Denver Rockets winning streak record.

The record for both franchises now sits at 15 in a row, maybe with another 30 years to pass before being touched again. The Nuggets were also going for their seventh road win in a row but the energy  lacked from the outset. They found themselves down 25-11 early on and never seemed to get going offensively.

The team played slow, didn’t rebound efficiently and got outscored in the paint. Wilson Chandler was in his first game back from suffering a shoulder injury and he showed some rust. Julyan Stone came in to make up minutes for the absent Lawson, but he went out with an injury before playing three minutes.

Danilo Gallinari had 24 points but had a plus/minus rating of -10. Andre Miller started for Lawson and played 39 minutes, he also had a team worst -28 plus/minus rating.

You can’t take anything away from the Hornets. Despite being second-to-last in the Western Conference and nowhere near to making the playoffs, they have now beat the Boston Celtics, the Memphis Grizzlies and the Nuggets in their last three games.

The Hornets outshot the Nuggets in all fields by a wide margin and hit 14 of 25 from beyond the arc. Ryan Anderson led the Hornets in scoring with 23 points and nine rebounds, making five of his 11 attempted three pointers.

Number one overall pick in the NBA draft Anthony Davis shot five for eight with 14 points and added six rebounds. The Hornets played the spoilers, snapped the winning streak and made the Nuggets look pretty bad. This can’t be good right? The Nuggets losing to the lowly Hornets cannot be good for morale getting so close to the playoffs, right?

Wrong. The streak may now be over, but one loss is not the end of the world. The focus shouldn’t necessarily be on looking ahead to outcomes of games days away. You have to focus on one game at a time and maybe now the Nuggets will take a good look at themselves and where they want to be.

Lawson will be back and the Nuggets are still going to make the postseason. They have shown they can beat the good teams in the league, even on the road. Chandler has also proven his presence is instrumental in keeping the energy up and closing out games.

With a healthy Nuggets team running fast into the playoffs there is no way they will disappoint. They are still in strong contention to earn home-court advantage in the first round and there’s no way they’re going out early if that happens.

The Nuggets will have a chance to prove themselves to the critics once again and start another winning streak when they travel to face the San Antonio Spurs Wednesday night. Tony Parker is back and hopefully Lawson will be back to take hold of the team again. He participated in practice before the Hornets game and it appeared as though he would be ready to go. Ultimately, it’s important not to rush him but I would love to see him back in the starting rotation by Wednesday.

This loss was a hard one to swallow, but maybe it’s good for the ultimate goal of winning in the playoffs. Lessons should be learned and players should recognize where and how they can improve. The Nuggets didn’t play their brand of basketball Monday night but it will be back.


Joe Newsome is a Denver Nuggets contributing writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @josocah, check out his Facebook page and add him to your circles on Google+.




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