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Nuggets Continue to Struggle on Road


What started as a chance to prove critics wrong ended up only adding fuel to the fire. Much has been made of the Denver Nugget’s inability to consistently play well on the road this season, but their recent 5 game road trip gave them an opportunity silence those who question their championship potential based on their poor road play. That was until they played the Knicks at Madison Square Garden last Tuesday.

Denver got out to an early 14-2 lead and looked ready to stomp New York the way one would think the then number two seed in the Western Conference should. Instead the Knicks fought their way back into the game, eventually winning 109-104. New York was helped by some questionable calls late in the game, but the fact of the matter is they really had no business being that close to the Nuggets, especially after Denver took a big lead early.


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The next night Denver traveled to Boston to face the Celtics and plainly did not seem that interested in playing, losing 113-99. After such a bad loss the night before Nuggets fans had to have been hoping for the team to show more heart with every game being a must win with Dallas, Utah and Phoenix battling Denver for playoff positioning. Consistent effort is something that has plagued this team all season, however, and is one of the main things detractors point to when discussing the team’s playoff chances.

The team then traveled to Toronto and barely escaped with a win, Carmelo Anthony saving them with a buzzer beater to win 97-96. The game gave the team no momentum though, as they followed it up with a 103-97 loss in Orlando, a game that saw the Magic lose Vince Carter less than 2 minutes into the contest. Another uninspiring performance in Dallas that saw the Nuggets lose 109-93 sent them home.


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The stretch saw the Nuggets go 1-4 and could prove disastrous for them come playoff time. They fell from the 2 seed to number 5, needing to pass Phoenix, Dallas and Utah to regain their position. Even though the 4 teams are separated by less than 2 games, with how well those 3 teams have been playing it will be difficult for Denver to overtake them.

Suddenly their season ending game against the Suns is huge and could determine who gets home court if they remain the 4 and 5 seeds. With how hard wins have been to come by on the road for the Nuggets, they need as many games at home as they can get in the playoffs. Going in as the 5 seed could even mean they won’t be able to advance past the 1st round, which would be incredibly disappointing for a team that was in the Western Conference Finals a year ago. Being the 4th or 5th team would also most likely mean a 2nd round match up with the Lakers if Denver did advance, making a repeat trip to those Conference Finals even more difficult.

Denver has dug itself a hole with its poor road play, but they do end the season playing 5 out of 7 at home. It’s not at all impossible for them to climb back up to number 2 in the West, but they may need to win out to do so. While that may not seem likely given their opponents to round out the season, stranger things have happened. Maybe they’re just trying to make things interesting.


By: Ryan Comstock
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer

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