Red. Hot. Scorching. Streaking. Heat Check. Insatiable.
The Denver Nuggets are all of those things, plus many more.
At one point, they were 17-15 in December, and now are sitting at the 4th seed with a 32-18 record and a 22-3 home record.
The Denver Nuggets are home cookin’ like no other team in the league, which is why homecourt advantage is pivotal for this upcoming squad. It’s no secret they’re a different team at home as Jared Dubin notes.
As he mentions, Denver has outscored 6.0 points per 100 possessions – via NBA.com, since January 1st and Dubin drops this little gem:
They’re now 22-3 in Denver this season, and they have outscored opponents by well over 9 points per 100 possessions in the Pepsi Center – a scoring margin on par with what the Spurs have done this season
That’s not a secret to those that watch this team every game this season; they’re playing at a quicker pace since their homestand, which is indicative of their scoring in transition, and getting easy buckets in the paint.
Denver is playing with a purpose. They’re hungry for a high-seed, and so far, it’s working in their favor.
Denver has won 16 of their last 20; went 21-6 since December 13th, and 15-3 to start 2013.
Yup. Denver is hungry.
And, they satiated that ravenous hunger, by wolfing down the Chicago Bulls Thursday night. During the first half, both teams went tit-for- tat. Chicago never had an answer for Kenneth Faried, who shot perfectly in the first half, but nevertheless, it looked like it would be a closely contested match.
Then the wrecking ball of the third quarter happened; Denver outscored Chicago 37-16.
Denver was spacing the floor, running the full-court, having some insatiable defense in the second quarter, blowing past the Bulls as they looked on when Denver was putting on a dunk show, running Chicago out of the building.
Denver’s bench outscored Chicago, 58-47, out-rebounded, 46-34, more steals, 11-5, more blocks, 8-4, and on fewer turnovers, 10-15.
Did I mention Denver did that against a team with the third ranked defensive efficiency?
Sure there are those that are saying “They’re only good because of their home-heavy schedule” but did those same people say Denver’s mediocrity in November was because if their schedule, too?
Of course not; Denver is and will be discredited and that’s okay.
Right now, Denver is AMAZING And their executing in a manner that’s indicative of a hungry squad.
Over the past month, Danilo Gallinari, Ty Lawson, Andre Iguodala have all, nearly, grown together; Lawson is shooting marvelously from the field and perimeter, Gallinari is playing with vigor and has become a go-to scorer, and Iguodala is playing tremendously on both sides of the ball.
Literally, there’s nothing to criticize outside of a missed defensive rotation or urging Karl to give JaVale nor minutes. Denver has won 8 consecutive games, the team looks like – dare I say – an elite Western Conference team.
The true test comes with their 4-game road trip featuring Brooklyn, Boston, Cleveland, and Toronto, in which, they’ll need to give their opponents everything they have.
So, yeah, I’m drinking the Denver Nuggets kool-aid.
And it’s tasty as hell.