Quantcast 2010 Denver Nuggets: Nuggets Update

 

Final Stretch of Season Could be the Difference for Nuggets

 

There are twelve games left this season for the Denver Nuggets, and all of them will have major playoff implications, not only in terms of seeding, but also in how seriously the team’s title chances will be taken. Highlighting these final games are five straight on the road to end March and possible playoff previews against the rest of the Western Conference’s best in April.

To be a true championship contender a team must show the ability to win tough games on the road, which the Nuggets have done by winning in Cleveland and at the Lakers, but they have also had some major blunders away from home, losing twice at Sacramento, in Washington and in Los Angeles against the Clippers as they have gone 17-17 in road games for the season. For much of the year the team has also had a tendency to play to the level of its competition, looking great against the top teams in the league while sometimes seeming disinterested in playing lower tier teams. While they have been better against the bottom feeders since the All-Star break, consistently playing well on the road remains to be see, something the national media has taken note of in discussing this team’s title hopes.

 

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The Nuggets have played ten games against teams that they should have beaten since the break, Washington twice, Minnesota, New Orleans twice, Memphis and Houston, and have gone 8-2. The team has played nine road games since the break and has gone just 5-4, including the spectacular win in Cleveland, which was followed the very next night with a bad loss in Washington, adding to the perception that the team lacks focus.

The Nuggets have a chance in the coming weeks to change their road fortunes and establish themselves as legitimate contenders as they are about to embark on a five game road trip that will include stops in Boston, Orlando and Dallas, near must win games for a team that needs to prove it can win such contests. The two other games are in New York and Toronto, battles the Nuggets should win. Surely, losses in those two cities will only add fuel to the fire for those who believe the team is not truly a championship contender due to a perceived lack of mental toughness.

 



The team will close out the season with seven games in April, five of which are against teams currently in the Western Conference playoffs, including a huge game at home against the Lakers, the team they fell to in the Western Finals last season. They still have a chance to catch Los Angeles at the top of the West and secure home court for the playoffs, but they also need to stay ahead of the hard charging Mavericks to, at the very least, retain the number two seed. Playing five of these games at the Pepsi Center can only help their chances.

Every team wants to finish the season strong, but for the Nuggets it is of the utmost importance to do so. For a team with a 30-6 record at home, who scores 7 more points per game in their own building than on the road, playing at home in the playoffs could be the difference between being an also-ran and making a real run at a the championship.

 

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By: Ryan Comstock
ProBasketball-fans.com Staff Writer


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