At first glance, I never saw an agonizing stretch of difficult games that I was dreading. After reflecting on it some more I think the most difficult stretch will be from March 23 through April 1. The Nuggets have a five game eastern conference road trip that takes them to New York, Boston, Toronto, Orlando and then drops them in Dallas. Five road tilts in seven days. Then as an added bonus they return home to play Portland on April Fools’ Day, although they do get two days of rest. That late in the season the pressure will be palpable and wins will be precious commodities.
I thought it was kind of odd that I could not find more imposing segments. When I reflected on why that was I came up with two reasons. There are fewer teams to fear. Heading into 2008-09 I did not look forward to playing teams like New Orleans, Utah, Houston, Phoenix and Dallas. Now, those matchups are not so scary. There are not eight 50 win teams in the west anymore. The road has become a little easier. The other reason for my lack of consternation is for the first time in a long time I believe the Nuggets are capable of being a top five team. That is a nice feeling to have.
There were two other things I noticed looking at the schedule that I thought were interesting. I had lamented the fact that the Nuggets had 22 back to back games and on only six of those occasions will they play a team who had played the night before as well. After a little research I have discovered there are 22 occasions where the Nuggets play an opponent who is coming off a game the night before. Lo and behold out of those 22 instances there are only six games where the Nuggets had to play the night before as well.
While 22 is a big number, it appears the league has kept things pretty even at least within the Nuggets schedule.
The other discovery I made was that this is the first season since 2000-01 where the Nuggets do not play a home and home series with someone. There have been times where there was a day off between games against the same opponent, but in every season since 2000-01 the Nuggets have played at least one team twice in a row. I am not sure what that means for the fans, but I guess the advance scouts do not get the benefit of a repeat game that does not require additional scouting.