Denver Nuggets face toughest schedule in the NBA

We are almost halfway through the 82-game marathon that is the NBA regular season and the Denver Nuggets sit with a 20-18 record, just outside of a spot in the playoffs. This year has had its ups and downs. During some stretches of the season the Nuggets have looked like a serious playoff contender, capable of becoming an interesting team to watch when postseason rolls around. At other times, Denver has gone through extended periods of mediocre play and looked like a lottery team. Which team will we see over the second part of the regular season? The schedule would indicate the latter.

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Road games revisited: Karl’s seemingly low expectations

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”
– Michelangelo Buonarroti

Last week in a breakdown of the remaining schedule I wrote about the importance for the Nuggets of winning road games at a higher percentage and how their success or failure in that regard will most likely define them as a team.

One point I should have included but failed to make is that the Nuggets have in fact improved – albeit modestly – their road performance over the course of the season. On the surface this may come as little surprise, given (more…)

Remaining schedule breakdown: The Nuggets will define themselves on the road

Starting with tonight’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Nuggets have 25 games left in their regular season schedule. Here we’ll take a look at how the final stretch breaks down, what we might expect to see if Denver continues on its current trajectory, and the critical importance of improving their performance in road games.

The overall schedule picture looks (more…)

Further Disecting the Denver Nuggets Schedule

The day after the big schedule release and my running diary of discovery, I have a few more notes to add.

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.