First of all, this is not about trying to find some excuse for the miserable road losses by this season's Nuggets. Their last couple of games have been embarrassing and there's nothing to blame except their own poor play.
I started off this season hoping the Nuggets would win 60 games and put up a fight for the #1 seed, and at least secure the #2 seed without needing the benefit of any tiebreakers, like last year. I figured this would probably mean winning about 35 home games and 25 road games.
Last year they went 33-8 at home, and 21-20 on the road. The year before that, they also went 33-8 at home, but were only 17-24 on the road. What's the highest number of road wins they've ever had in a season, does anybody know?
Other teams in Denver also seem to perform much better at home than on the road, which of course I know is common to most sports teams, but in Denver's case, it seems like it's often more disproportionate. In the 2007-2008 season, the Nuggets had the 4th-best home record in the league (behind Boston, Detroit, & Utah), but their road record was right in the middle of the pack.
One explanation that gets offered up ad nauseum for strong showings at home by Denver teams is the altitude. But is there perhaps a geographical consideration that would at least partially explain poor performance on the road?
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it true that the only other NBA team that even shares a time zone with the Nuggets is the Jazz? There's not a single road game where they don't have to get on a plane. Contrast this with some of the Eastern Conference teams. How tough is it for the Knicks to play a road game against the Nets, or vice-versa? And for that matter, moving west, how hard is it for the Lakers to play a "road" game against the Clippers?
I've just started wondering if George Karl thinks it's too hard for such a geographically isolated team to win more than half of their road games. Curious to hear other thoughts on this.