Pickaxe Pulse for December 16, 2013

Taking the pulse of the Nuggets every weekend

The Nuggets held pace in the Western Conference standings, remaining in the playoff hunt after an up-and-down week. The team ended a six game road trip on Monday with an ugly win against the Wizards. Nate Robinson’s constant energy and a late block and dunk by Kenneth Faried were key to the 75-74 victory. Back at home with three days rest, the Nuggets starters came out flat against the Jazz. Timofey Mozgov and Jordan Hamilton led a comeback in the second half that gave the team a brief lead, but the Nuggets ultimately couldn’t hold on. Speedy point guards Ty Lawson and Nate Robinson took charge in a strong win against the Pelicans on Sunday, with Robinson in particular filling up the highlight reel with drives, jumpers, and even a couple of blocked shots. A tough schedule awaits this week, with all three Nuggets opponents currently in the top six in the West.

Current record and standings: 14-9 (7-3 home, 7-6 road), 7th in the Western Conference

Upcoming games: Tuesday vs Oklahoma City, Friday vs Phoenix, Saturday at LA Clippers

Pickaxe Pulse for December 8, 2013

Taking the pulse of the Nuggets every weekend

The Nuggets travelled east for a difficult stretch of four games in five nights, winning two and losing two. Timofey Mozgov was a dominating force in the paint against Brooklyn on Tuesday, with 17 points and 20 rebounds in a blowout win. Ty Lawson struggled with his shot the next night in Cleveland and the Cavs’ Tristan Thompson pulled down a Mozgov-like 21 rebounds to hand the Nuggets a defeat. Boston got off to a quick start on Friday, and an injury to Ty Lawson ended the Nuggets’ shot at a comeback. The team rebounded from two tough losses by going in to Philadelphia and pulling out a win thanks to Jordan Hamilton hitting back-to-back-to-back threes late in the fourth period to blow the game open. With injuries and fatigue taking their toll, the Nuggets will be glad to end their road trip on Monday in Washington and spend three days getting healthy before their next game.

Current record and standings: 12-8 (6-2 home, 6-6 road), 7th in the Western Conference

Upcoming games: Monday at Washington, Friday vs Utah

Pickaxe Pulse for December 1, 2013

Taking the pulse of the Nuggets every weekend

The Nuggets picked up four more wins this week and have won 9 of the last 11, leaving the team’s 1 and 4 start to the season as a distant memory. Nate Robinson has settled into his role as a scorer off the bench, averaging 18 points while shooting over 50% on threes in the last four games. Robinson has combined with Ty Lawson, Jordan Hamilton, and the surprisingly hot-shooting Andre Miller to give the Nuggets 8 or more made threes in 8 straight games, which is a franchise record. The Nuggets’ bigs continue to be inconsistent individually but effective as a group, with JJ Hickson, Kenneth Faried, and Timofey Mozgov each having at least one great game and one bad game this week. Darrell Arthur’s defense on Dirk Nowitzki helped in the win at Dallas. Randy Foye played well against Kevin Martin in the win at Minnesota and came up with a key late-game stop of Carmelo Anthony to seal the win against New York. The Nuggets’ bench, led by Robinson and Mozgov, put up 72 points in a comeback road win against Toronto to kick off a six-game road trip.

Current record and standings: 10-6 (6-2 home, 4-4 road), sixth place in the Western conference

Upcoming games: Tuesday at Brooklyn, Wednesday at Cleveland, Friday at Boston, Saturday at Philadelphia

Pickaxe Pulse for November 24, 2013

Taking the pulse of the Nuggets every weekend

The Nuggets climbed back to .500 this week with wins against Dallas and Chicago following a tough loss in Oklahoma City.

JJ Hickson helped the Nuggets to a double digit lead in Oklahoma City with 18 points, 19 rebounds, and all around solid defense. The team struggled on both ends in the fourth quarter, scoring only ten points through eleven minutes and giving up seven offensive rebounds that led to nine second chance points for the Thunder. Denver rebounded from the two point loss by breaking Chicago’s five game win streak. Jordan Hamilton scored 17 points including a pair of three pointers that put the Nuggets ahead by 21 early in the fourth quarter. The Nuggets followed up by breaking Dallas’ four game win streak. Andre Miller’s assist on a lob to Wilson Chandler in the second quarter moved him past Rod Strickland for ninth place all-time in career assists. Kenneth Faried had a double double, Randy Foye hit the go-ahead three with 1:11 left, and Foye’s defense on Dirk Nowitzki in the closing seconds helped the Nuggets hold on for the win.

Current record and standings: 6-6 (5-2 home, 1-4 road), tied for 10th in the Western Conference

Upcoming games: Monday at Dallas, Wednesday at Minnesota, Friday vs New York

Pickaxe Pulse for November 17, 2013

Taking the pulse of the Nuggets every weekend

During the preseason, NBA analysts, pundits, and fans were predicting the Nuggets to finish anywhere from a low playoff seed to near the bottom of the league. After nine games, the 4-5 Nuggets have done little to change anyone’s mind.

Ty Lawson’s current averages of 21 points, 4 rebounds, and nearly 9 assists are all career highs. Wilson Chandler has been shooting extremely well from outside, and Timofey Mozgov has been a force on defense and in the pick and roll. The Nuggets have had fourth quarter leads in all but two games. On the down side, long-term injuries to Danilo Gallinari and JaVale McGee will keep the Nuggets from reaching full strength until January or later. Aside from Ty Lawson, the rest of the Nuggets’ guards have played inconsistently on both ends, with only a couple of good games each. The defense is still a work in progress, particularly in the frontcourt. Coach Shaw continues to run experimental lineups that are sometimes successful but more often terrible. With three tough tests coming this week, the Nuggets will need to improve quickly to keep pace.

Current record and standings: 4-5 (3-2 home, 1-3 road), tied with Memphis for 10th place in the West.

Upcoming games: Monday @ Oklahoma City, Thursday vs Chicago, Saturday vs Dallas

Pickaxe Pulse for April 18, 2013

Taking the pulse of the Nuggets at the end of the season

The Nuggets went undefeated in the last week of the season to clinch the third seed in the Western Conference.  Kenneth Faried sprained his ankle early in Sunday’s game against Portland and sat out the rest of the week; he is listed as day-to-day entering the playoffs.  In a closer than expected game against the Trailblazers, Evan Fournier capped his career high 24 point night with two late three pointers to seal the 118-109 win.  The next night in Milwuakee, Ty Lawson hit a go-ahead jumper with nine seconds left and the defense held on for a 112-111 victory.  The Nuggets jumped out to a big lead early against the Suns in the season finale on Wednesday, giving the end of the bench a chance to show their stuff.  All twelve healthy Nuggets players made at least one basket and grabbed at least one rebound in the 118-98 win.  Andre Iguodala averaged 20 points, 6.7 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, and 2.3 blocks for the week.

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

Overall record and standings: 57-25, third seed in the West.

Upcoming: the Nuggets have home court advantage in a first round playoff series against Golden State.  Game 1 is on Saturday.

Pickaxe Pulse for April 13, 2013

Taking the pulse of the Nuggets every weekend

The Nuggets tied their NBA franchise record for wins in a season by defeating San Antonio on Wednesday, and had a chance to break the record in Dallas on Friday, but came up short in overtime.  Andre Iguodala led the way against the Spurs with a triple double and JaVale McGee’s four blocks helped spark the bench in the comeback win.  In Dallas, Corey Brewer’s tying basket off of an Andre Miller steal brought up memories of the previous week’s heroics against the Mavericks, but in the end, poor shooting and poor defense were the Nuggets’ undoing.

Record this week: 1-1 (1-0 home, 0-1 road)

Current record and standings: 54-25, third seed in the Western Conference, tied with Memphis and 1 game ahead of the Clippers.  The Nuggets hold the tiebreaker over Memphis due to head-to-head play, while the Clippers hold the tiebreaker over both Memphis and Denver due to winning their division.

Upcoming games: Sunday vs Portland, Monday at Milwaukee, Wednesday vs Phoenix

Pickaxe Pulse for April 7, 2013

Taking the pulse of the Nuggets every weekend

The Nuggets lost Danilo Gallinari to a season-ending knee injury this week and Ty Lawson has not yet returned to action, but the team rallied behind the play of Corey Brewer, Andre Igoudala, and rookie Evan Fournier to go undefeated over three games.  Wednesday’s game in Utah showcased the Nuggets depth, with seven players scoring in double digits in a seventeen point win.  Gallinari tore his ACL just before halftime the next night against Dallas and the Nuggets looked to be on the way to defeat after trailing for most of the game, but a late offensive rebound by Corey Brewer set up Iguodala’s go-ahead bucket and a last-second block by Brewer sealed the win.  Denver fell behind the Rockets by double digits in the first quarter on Saturday, but Evan Fournier and Corey Brewer sparked two big runs that turned the game into a fourth quarter blowout.

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

Current record and standings: 53-24, third seed in the Western Conference, 1.5 games ahead of Memphis and 2.5 games ahead of the Clippers

Upcoming games: Wednesday vs San Antonio, Friday at Dallas

Pickaxe Pulse for March 30, 2013

Taking the pulse of the Nuggets every weekend

The Nuggets’ franchise record winning streak of fifteen games came to an end Monday in New Orleans.  The team looked disinterested in a 110-86 blowout loss, giving up 17 offensive rebounds and 14 made three pointers.  JaVale McGee led the way with a double double in San Antonio on Wednesday, and the Nuggets had a chance to win, but Andre Miller missed a tough shot at the buzzer and the Nuggets dropped their second straight, 100-99.  Back at the Pepsi Center on Friday, Evan Fournier and Kosta Koufos helped the Nuggets get back on track against the Nets in a 109-87 win.  Ty Lawson played sparingly all week due to a foot injury.

Record this week: 1-2 (1-0 home, 0-2 road)

Current record and standings: 50-24, third seed in the Western Conference, 0.5 games ahead of the Clippers and 1 game ahead of the Grizzlies

Upcoming games: Wednesday at Utah, Thursday vs Dallas, Saturday vs Houston

Pickaxe Pulse for March 24, 2013

Taking the pulse of the Nuggets every weekend

The Nuggets extended their franchise-record winning streak to 15 games, and the team’s depth was on full display this week as bench players played key roles in all 4 victories.  Wilson Chandler scored a game high 35 points to go with 9 rebounds and 4 assists in an overtime win in Chicago.  Andre Miller celebrated his 37th birthday the next night, helping the Nuggets cruise to a win over the Thunder.  With Ty Lawson and Wilson Chandler sitting out with injuries, the Nuggets looked to be on their way to defeat against Philadelphia, but Corey Brewer finished off a career high 29 points with a late three pointer and three free throws to complete a 101-100 comeback victory.  Julyan Stone, in his first NBA game since January, provided a spark on both defense and offense to help the Nuggets get past the Kings.

Record this week: 4-0 (2-0 home, 2-0 road)

Current record and standings: 49-22, third seed in the Western Conference, 0.5 games ahead of the Clippers and 1 game ahead of the Grizzlies

Upcoming games: Monday at New Orleans, Wednesday at San Antonio, Friday vs Brooklyn

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

Pickaxe Pulse for March 10, 2013

Taking the pulse of the Nuggets every weekend

Current record: 42-22

Last week: 4-0 (3-0 home, 1-0 road)

Current playoff seed: #5, 1.5 games behind #4 Memphis, 2 games behind #3 LA Clippers, and 7 games ahead of #6 Golden State

The Nuggets picked up a potentially important playoff tiebreaker by defeating the Clippers to take the season series 2-1.  The team has won 8 in a row overall, and 13 straight home games.  Danilo Gallinari appears fully recovered, averaging 18 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 5.2 assists over his last 3 games.  Ty Lawson, named Western Conference player of the week at the start of last week, averaged 24 points and 7 assists in this week’s games.  Corey Brewer continues to struggle on three point shots, making only one of eight attempts over the same timespan.

This week’s games: Monday at Phoenix, Wednesday vs Knicks, Friday vs Memphis

Pickaxe Pulse for March 2, 2013

Taking the pulse of the Nuggets every weekend

Current record: 38-22

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

Current playoff seed: #5, 1.5 games behind #4 Memphis and 4.5 games ahead of #6 Golden State

The Nuggets made a strong showing through a difficult stretch of games, defeating the surging Lakers and the division-leading Thunder at home and picking up a tough road win in Portland.  The Nuggets have gained separation from the West’s lower playoff seeds, but Memphis’ recent eight game winning streak has kept the Nuggets trailing slightly in the race for homecourt in the first round.  Ty Lawson saw his streak of 20 point games end against the Thunder, but he had plenty of reason to celebrate after hitting the game winning jumper with 0.2 seconds left.  Danilo Gallinari has played sparingly over the last four games due to a deep thigh bruise.  Wilson Chandler has filled in admirably, leading the Nuggets in scoring twice in that stretch.

This week’s games: Monday vs Atlanta, Tuesday at Sacramento, Thursday vs LA Clippers, Saturday vs Minnesota