The Nuggets are on the verge of making franchise history by winning 50 games or more for what would be a record fourth consecutive season. Standing in Denver's way is the Golden State Warriors. Monta Ellis and his crew come to town after playing Sunday night at home against the Sacramento Kings.
The particulars ...
Denver: 49-31 (32-8 at home)
Streak: Won 1 and 8-2 in last 10 games.
Golden State: 35-45 (10-30 on the road)
Streak: Lost 1 and 5-5 in last 10.
Denver: The laundry list - Arron Afflalo (left hamstring) and Chris Andersen (right ankle sprain) are both probable. Danilo Gallinari (right ankle sprain) is a game-time decision. Timofey Mozgov (left ankle/knee sprains) and Wilson Chandler (left ankle pain) are both out.
Golden State: Andris Biedrins (left ankle sprain) and Acie Law (right wrist bone spurs) are both out.
Season Series: Tied 1-1.
Opposition's Take: Golden State of Mind
The benchmark of a highly successful NBA season has been the 50-win plateau. Since 2007, fans in the Mile-High City have enjoyed three highly successful NBA seasons and we are looking at perhaps a fourth one after Monday night's game. The Nuggets have never had over three 50+ win seasons in a row.
There were not a lot of people, maybe nobody, picking the Nuggets to pass the 50-win mark, especially once the season started and all the trade turmoil began and dragged on ... and on. The new team gelled quickly and here we sit at 49 wins, pretty amazing.
Denver Nuggets 50+ win seasons:
- 1969-70: 51-33 - ABA
- 1974-75: 65-19 - ABA
- 1975-76: 60-24 - ABA
- 1976-77: 50-32 - NBA
- 1984-85: 52-30
- 1987-88: 54-28
- 2007-08: 50-32
- 2008-09: 54-28
- 2009-10: 53-29
- 2010-11: 49-31 and counting ...
While another season of 50+ wins would be nice, what would be even better is seeing this Nuggets team healthy for the playoffs. Afflalo and Birdman Andersen are both expected to see a little action against the Warriors, but I'm hoping the Nuggets are extra cautious with AAA.
The Nuggets insurance agent, the dependable offensive weapon Afflalo hasn't been completely healthy since March 3rd. On March 5th he first strained his left hamstring in Los Angeles against the Clippers in a Nuggets loss. Since that time it's been a frustrating month for the 25 year-old Afflalo.
The shooting guard was off from March 5th to March 16th (missing three games) when he came back to play in Atlanta against the Hawks. Just three days later (and two games later) in Miami Afflalo would tweak that hammy after just nine minutes against the Heat. Afflalo wouldn't return to the lineup against until April 1st against the Sacramento Kings - he played 26 minutes in that one and re-injured that left hamstring once again. AAA has missed the last 5 games (13 total games missed) and will try to give it a go after just 10 days of rest. The Nuggets are going to need Afflalo in the playoffs, so let's hope that hamstring will hold together.
The Birdman hasn't played since that same April 1st game against the Kings, no fooling. He has missed the last five contests after spraining his right ankle. Andersen had been playing pretty good basketball just before his injury as he averaged 7.3 points, 4 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in March in just 15.1 minutes per game. It will be nice to have Andersen back protecting the paint and getting to work on the offensive and defensive glass.
We likely wont be seeing Gallo against the Warriors and we know we wont be seeing Chander and Mozgov. The Nuggets injury list would be a pretty decent starting five with Afflalo, Chandler, Gallo, Birdman and Moz - well, probably too big of a group for Karl to play ... but still.
The playoffs will kick off in about a week, so the injured Nuggets will need all the extra treatment time they can get and the team will have to re-gel a bit on the fly in the post-season and that's no easy task. Fortunately for Denver, they have a couple games remaining to work some guys back into the lineup.
The Warriors should be a tired team heading into Denver from Oakland (and losing to the Kings 104-103) and playing the second game of a back-to-back. The Nuggets should be able to pull off a win and get to the 50-win mark, but more importantly than that - the Nuggets will be getting two key pieces to the puzzle back and hopefully a couple more as the week progresses.
Views you can use:
- Last week against the Lakers (24 assists), Mavericks (20 assists) and Timberwolves (35 assists) , the Nuggets hit that magical 20 assist plateau and went 3-0 in those games.
- Against the Thunder last week the Nuggets had just 17 assists in Denver and 15 assists in Oklahoma. No surprise Denver went 0-2 in those games.
- Dorell Wright (48 minutes) and David Lee (45 minutes) played a ton Sunday night against the Kings. Stephen Curry (32 minutes) was the only other player on the roster to play over 30 minutes in the one-point loss.
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