Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Denver Nuggets Quarterly Review

(Boulder-CO) Can you believe it has been a quarter of the hoops season already? Well, believe it or not it has, and if you're a little bit like me you have been pleasantly surprised with the performance of Nugget Management, the players, and the team overall since trading Allen Iverson four games into the season for Chauncey Billups and Cheikh Samb. With a 14-7 record the Nuggets are off to a great start, but for those of you who haven't been on board this whole time fret not because this post will catch you up to speed with all that has transpired with the Denver Nuggets.

This season's start was a little bit rocky to say the least. Denver lost its season opener on the road to the Jazz before barely squeaking by with an overtime victory over the Clippers. They again fell victim to the Lakers (as has everyone else) and it was looking like this season was going to be a long and bumpy road before perhaps the entire season was saved with a decision by Denver brass . On Monday morning, November 3rd, the Denver Nuggets traded Allen Iverson to the Detroit Pistons for Antonio McDyess, Chauncey Billups, and Cheikh Samb.

Denver had to play without AI or Chauncey against the Warriors as the loss dropped them to 1-3 overall and Antonio McDyess refused to play in Denver forcing management to buy him out for far less than he was due contractually. All was still well though becuase the Nuggets had gotten their man and things were about to change.

In Chauncey's first game back in Denver, the team, and Mile High City, rallied with a refreshed sense of collectivity as the Nuggets beat the Mavericks in what was start of the season's first three-game win streak. Denver then proceeded to beat the Grizzlies and the Bobcats before traveling to their first big test in Cleveland. All the hype was focused on what was billed as LeBron vs. 'Melo, but it was once again Mr. Big Shot that led the way despite Denver losing its fourth game to the Cavs with trouble waiting in Bean Town.

The .500 Nuggets, on the tail-end of back-to-back nights, then announced themselves to the league on the parquet floor of the Boston Garden with a huge win over the reigning NBA Champion Celtics. Denver then played three games in four nights and after beating the Timberwolves, Bucks, and Spurs for the season's first four-game winning streak it was time for another crack at the Lakers. However, L.A. once again proved to be too much for Denver as the Nuggets lost for the sixth-straight time against the Lakers, but they were not about to lose consecutive games for the first time since acquiring Chauncey with a rebound win against the Bulls just a few nights later.

A successful reunion against Marcus Camby and the Clippers was the Nuggets tenth win of the season. In the game against the Clippers, J.R. Smith served a one-game sentence from George Karl for being what was called "extremely" late for practice and the night off left him fresh against the New Orleans and coach Byron Scott. Against his former coach and team, J.R. Smith treated the Nuggets Nation to the highest individual scoring performance of the season with 32 points, but it wasn't enough as the Nuggets suffered their first loss at home since the trade to the Hornets.

However, the resilient Nuggets still weren't ready to drop two games in a row as they opened up another three-game winning streak against the Timberwolves, Rockets, and Raptors before losing again to the Spurs and demolishing the Kings.
Denver's record is now 14-7 and is tied for the franchise's best start in over 20 years.
Go Nuggets!

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