Pickaxe Pulse for March 16, 2013

Taking the pulse of the Nuggets every weekend

Current record: 45-22

Last week: 3-0 (2-0 home, 1-0 road)

Current playoff seed: #5, 0.5 games behind #4 Memphis and #3 LA Clippers.  The Clippers hold the tie breaker over both Memphis and Denver (due to winning their division), while Denver holds the tie breaker over Memphis (due to a 3-1 head to head record).

The Nuggets finished another undefeated week by taking down the Memphis Grizzlies in a slow-paced, grind-it-out game, picking up an important tiebreaker in the process.  They also embarrassed the Knicks in Carmelo Anthony’s return to Denver, and picked up a road win in a blowout in Phoenix.  Denver has the longest active winning streak in the Western Conference at 11 games.  Kosta Koufos had the best week of his career, averaging 15.3 points and 12 rebounds over three games.  Coach George Karl had the team ready to play all week and made good substitutions in the face of individual players’ game-to-game inconsistency.

This week’s games: Monday at Chicago, Tuesday at Oklahoma City, Thursday vs Philadelphia, Saturday vs Sacramento

  • googergieger

    Should be an easy 3-1.

    Hope the loss in OKC doesn’t rattle our confidence and we bounce back ready to win the rest of the games after that.

    • Ackdog

      CHI is a MUST win OKC is a big order but not impossible. Not easy 4 games in 6 days……

  • CFlyinFlynn

    Agreed should be an easy 3-1. Chicago isn’t playing well and we are playing the best basketball of the season. Although I wouldn’t chalk up a loss to OKC so quick. We have played them tough all year, should be an exciting game, playoff atmosphere for sure.

    • http://espn herpderpnuggets

      well they just beat golden state by double digits

      • cwill

        Two days after they lost to Sacramento by 40…

  • TyroneH

    I can’t believe your actually saying we’re gonna lose. Are you kidding me?? What kind of nuggets fan are you?? I have no doubt nuggets win by 8!!!!

  • googergieger

    I’m not saying we aren’t going to be the better team, but no way in hell do the refs let us win. They are going to do everything in their power to make sure OKC wins. I mean twice on our home court we blew out OKC but the refs did everything to make it respectable. On OKC’s home court? They are going to get fifty free throws if we play perfect offense and defense, or they’ll be allowed to foul us and go on a huge run, and in the fourth quarter when they are up by a lot, the refs will start calling stupid fouls for us to make the final box score look “even”.

    Same as it ever was…

    • Andrew

      I hate that you are right on this OKC game and the refs. There is also the added factor of this being a back-to-back road game.

      I am a bit concerned about the Chicago game, as well, They pounded G State last night, didn’t they?

      • googergieger

        We’ve always matched up well with The Bulls even with Rose. One of the few teams where our switch heavy defense works. If they slow us down there might be some problems. But outside of Memphis no team has slowed us down really. And with Memphis it was more we allowed them to slow us down. Well the refs helped but still.

        • mike

          Umm OKC is the better team unless perkins gets his full complement then it is somewhat close.

          PS Sports Illustrated just ran a piece about the 8 best coaches. Karl is number 6.

          • googergieger

            Two games against them on our home court. We attacked the paint more than double the times they did. Durant and Westbrook alone got more than double the free throw attempts our entire team combined did.

            They are the better team? Manufactured team maybe.

            • mike

              We’ve been through this. Both home games the Nuggets BARELY won (I think one was overtime). The one OKC game was a blowout. The final score was closer than the game too. You can complain about the refs all you want but the truth is they have two guys who get to the foul line constantly because they attack and have ridiculous skill/athleticism combinations for 1 vs. 1 (or even 1 vs. 2) (Westbrook amazing speed and powerful athleticism, Durant’s ridiculous shooting, height/length and good all-around skill combination) They EARN their free throws. And either way it’s not like the refs/nba is going to read this blog and go “Hey googer has it right. We should only give durant and westbrook 4 FT per game. We were SOOO wrong.”

              • googergieger

                And you ignored when I brought up the fact that if the free throw attempts/officiating would have been fair we would have blown them out twice as well.

                How naive(to put it kindly) are you to think Westbrook and Durant are more “skilled” at attacking the paint and getting to the line than THE ENTIRE NUGGET TEAM?

                In any case if you are arguing for why type anything at all ever, then take your own advice.

    • magster

      That blowout in OKC was on a b2b too. For a team that many thought we had a chance of being even with by the end of the season in a competitive division race, for the NBA to schedule both of @OKC games to be b2b games is pretty crappy scheduling.

  • Ryan

    The OKC game does look like a likely schedule loss to me. Beating the Thunder in OKC on the 2nd half of a back to back is a tall order.

  • Andrew

    Would love to see the Nuggs keep this win streak rolling! They have proven they can beat any team, win any kind of game, at home. If they can find a way to bet OKC and/or San Antonio on the road these last few weeks, I think it would do wonders for their playoff psyches.

    The other thing that has been amazing is this blossoming of Koufos as a Center. I think he might be the most improved layer in the league.

  • taylor

    we actually own the tiebreaker over the clippers we beat them twice, and they only beat us once. we own tiebreakers over both teams, and if we beat okc on tuesday, we will own the tiebreaker over them.

    • Graham

      Right you are taylor. But the Clippers will win their division meaning that our 2 wins over them are meaningless when it comes to that specific tie-breaker. They win because they won their division. So, in true John Madden style, that means we have to have a better record than them to ear a better seed than them.

    • LotharBot

      No we don’t. “Division winner” is the first tie breaker; “head to head record” is second. This means the Clippers have the tie breakers over both Denver and Memphis. (It’s possible they could lose the tie breaker by dropping back like 9 games to get passed by Golden State, but in that case I don’t think the tie breaker would be relevant.)

    • John in LA

      Division winner only gives them a guaranteed Top 4 position… not top 3. So were the Clips and the Nuggs to end the season with a identical record… and assuming both SAS and OKC are 1 and 2… it would end up Nuggets 3 and Clippers 4.

      Theoretically it could go OKC, DEN, SAS, then LAC. It won’t, but that is possible.

      • PlainsNugFan

        Top 4 guarantee is a completely separate rule from the tie breaker rule. Division winner is the tiebreaker for identical records. If the Clip Joint ends tied with Nugs, the Clips will be the 3 seed. Here are the tie breaker rules, as found on Wikipedia:

        In the event two or more teams are tied in the standings, a series of tiebreakers are applied to determine which team receives the higher seeding.

        Two-Team Tiebreaker:
        1.Division winner (this criterion is applied regardless of whether the tied teams are in the same division)
        2.Better record in head-to-head games
        3.Higher winning percentage within division (if teams are in the same division)
        4.Higher winning percentage in conference games
        5.Higher winning percentage against playoff teams in own conference (including tied teams)
        6.Higher winning percentage against playoff teams in opposite conference (including tied teams)

  • bigelowsmalls

    Road wins would be great for the psyche

  • Ckwizard

    It is a tall order to win at OKC after what will be another physical game at Chicago just as Googergieger says it will be difficult to over come the refs. The best thing right now is that I will not be surprised if the Nuggets win the game against OKC because truth is that the Nuggets are the better team. The thing is though that Durant is the best player and the game will be physical so because it is a back to back on the road the Nuggets of the past wouldn’t have stood a chance… But these Nuggets can play defense and I hope to see them put up a fight if they do that win or lose I will have more confidence in his team as a contender… Just put up a fight because come playoff time the game is going to be physical and the other team is likely going to have a perceived better player, NUGGETS just fight and have confidence in each other cause you guys are the best ” team” this year.

  • GIANLUCA

    Memphis lost tonight !!!
    DENVER CAN ARRIVE #3

  • Amel

    I wish one of our players would go mental at the refs if they decide to take over in the game vs OKC. Just to show that we’re not gonna let them do with us what they want.

    • Ckwizard

      I would rather see George Karl get ejected and ask the players to ignore the officiating and just play though it, develope the mentality that the refs don’t matter or that they are above the crying that the super stars do. For instance Durant, Kobe , Wade , Paul and especially Wetbrook and Harden act like they are entitled to preferential treatment from the refs… The Nuggets should act like they don’t expect calls and calls against them even bad ones are not worth a discussion with the refs. George Karl on the other hand should wait until it is obviously biased and do every thing to get ejected, then get fined by calling out the refs and officiating before the playoffs…. Then the owner Stan Kroenke should make a public statement supporting the team saying “I hope the officiating doesn’t fall into the spot light in this years playoffs because we have some of the best players on teams like The Heat and Thunder and the NBA has something special in teams like the Pacers and Nuggets, I think their is something special in the idea that our fans are for the success of our Team above the success of any one player but teams like tha Heat have a large number of fans that will change their passion for what ever team Lebron James Plays for. We have a clash of culture here where on one hand we have Fans that love ” Team Basketball” and on the other we have fans that love “Superstar” Talent. The problem is their is a percieved issue with officials protecting the interests of certain fans over the other and at the end of the day I feel like the Talent on my roster matches any of those teams with perceived “superstar” talent, I have confidence however that the officials will not dictate the outcomes of games as their is little to no evidence of this reality in today’s NBA”

      • googergieger

        Heck since it is a back to back and a schedule loss coming in, if the refs are beyond horrible, wouldn’t mind seeing Karl lead off a walk out. Just have him and his team walk out of the arena withs ome words to the refs about how they should be ashamed of themselves. Then when asked about it with the reporters just say, “it is bad enough each time we met this team it was a back to back, but to have to deal with officiating with a clear agenda isn’t fair to my team, or to the game of basketball. I have too much respect and love for the game and my team, to have me and my team sit back and just take it.”

        Won’t happen, but I’d love to see it happen.

        • Henry

          “Everyone who loves pro basketball assumes it’s a little fixed. We all think the annual draft lottery is probably rigged, we all accept that the league aggressively wants big market teams to advance deep into the playoffs, and we all concede that certain marquee players are going to get preferential treatment for no valid reason. The outcomes of games aren’t predetermined or scripted but there are definitely dark forces who play with our reality. There are faceless puppet masters who pull strings and manipulate the purity of justice. It’s not necessarily a full-on conspiracy, but it’s certainly not fair. And that’s why the NBA remains the only game that matters: Pro basketball is exactly like life.”

          ― Chuck Klosterman, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto

          • googergieger

            I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it is impossible for refs to make it so one team wins and one team loses. However they do make it easier for certain teams to win and harder for certain teams to win.

            Life is a constant contradiction of things pulling each other apart and you being stuck in the middle of it trying to make sense of it all. Only when diving into it and allowing yourself to be pulled apart do you come out the better for it. It really isn’t that complicated. It really isn’t that fair or unfair. It just is. And occasionally you’re lucky enough to not only see, but feel the beauty of it.

            • magster

              Disgraced ref Donaghy said the unfairness of refereeing can be overcome by being too good for the refs to matter, and that he thinks SAS has proved his point in their championship runs. Is hopeful a team like Denver can win it all in the current refereeing environment. This was on the podcasts that Nate at DS does once a week.

            • theo

              Didn’t realize you were a philosopher too. Love to have you hook me up with the strain that helped produce those admirable second paragraph thoughts. Seriously.

              • googergieger

                I’m a zen master.

                Or I listen to a lot of Alan Watts book on tapes/lectures on youtube on my Vita while I’m falling asleep.

  • http://espn gary g

    Based purely on play, I bleive we can return unbeaten from this 2 game B2B road jaunt, but I highy doubt it. Biggest reason regrettably is Karl; he’s always had the team take a little bit off the peddle on road trips following good home stretches or good stretches in general. He throws the ‘ lets just have some fun and relax” on this road trip mentality out there and the Young Nuggets interpret it as ” its ok to lose a game or two.” I can see them getting past the Bulls tonight just on rest and an overall average night out across the board. But tomorrow will be a different story. They will need to bring their A game and the Nuggets might just chalk it as one of those games where you’d rather save some energy for the final boost to the end line than try hard and still lose. GK would’ve already briefed them on how they are a in a good position now and a loss here or there won’t kill them.
    As for the refs, it is what it is. I do find it surprising though, that for a team that attacks and scores as much in the paint as they do, their FT advantage is hardly ever substantial, if at all.

  • GIANLUCA

    GO GALLO beat belinelli !!!

    go Nuggets , very god job Karl , MEA CULPA , but i want this team in WCF George … !!!!