Golden Nuggets: Surging Nuggets riding Lawson, Gallinari's hot hands

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The blisteringly hot Denver Nuggets are 16-4 in their last 20 games, have surpassed the Golden State Warriors for the 5th seed, are tied with have overtaken the Grizzlies for the 4th seed, and are just 3 games back from the slumping Clippers for the 3rd seed.

What a difference a month makes.

Way back in 2012, the Nuggets were just coming off a disappointing loss at the Memphis Grizzlies on December 29th to close the year out at 17-15, a mere 2 games above .500. The Nuggets had played the most difficult opening schedule to start the season, but many were wondering if this team had any real capacity to be better than a slightly better than .500 team. With frustrations and trade machine proposals mounting, I urged Denver Stiffs readers to remain patient through this team's early struggles.

Then January happened.

With the Nuggets finally able to recuperate at home for 12 of 15 games, they chalked up a sterling 12-3 record which could have been an even more stellar 14-1 had there not been a pair of befuddling losses to the hapless Timberwolves and Wizards. Ty Lawson and Danilo Gallinari used the favorable home schedule to turn their respective games around, and with the Nuggets undefeated in February look to continue the hot streak of a team that's now won 7 in a row and are 8-2 in their last 10. As of today, the Nuggets are 31-18, and are now 13 games above .500.

Although the Nuggets are quickly approaching a long trip that will see them playing 7 of the next 10 games on the road, the confidence that they've been able to build throughout their long home game stretch should help them approach .500 ball away from the friendly confines of the Pepsi Center.

Daily Links

Warriors intentionally foul Rockets to prevent 3 point record - If not for Marc Jackson's instruction to his team to prevent Houston from making another 3 pointer, Houston may have been able to set the all-time NBA record for threes made in a game. As it was, the Rockets posted 140 points on 23 of 40 made three point shots. Truly amazing - and the loss by the Warriors vaulted the Nuggets into the 5th 4th seed.

The Scorer - Grantland's Kirk Goldsberry breaks down Kevin Durant's transcendent scoring talent and why he's already one of the best scorers of all time in the NBA. He also points out that KD is still on pace to become a part of the "50-40-90" club - 50% FG, 40% 3P, 90% FTM - while simultaneously leading the league in scoring. Goldsberry points out that only one other player combined "the volume and efficiency" that Durant is now - Larry Bird.

Pau acknowledges 'it's a possibility' he'll ask for trade if Dwight, D'Antoni return - A seemingly increasingly frustrated (and now injured) Pau Gasol is getting tired of the Lakers' perpetual drama and has indicated that he would be open to a potential trade if the Lakers retain Dwight Howard and his childish buffoonery and Mike D'Antoni's general buffoonery. After being crapped on by Kobe, subjected to Howard's lackadaisical approach and continually jerked around and completely mis-utilized by D'Antoni, it's not hard to understand why.

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