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It's not as much fun when you have to play an actual "team"...

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I first want to apologize to all the readers of this blog for this terribly tardy recap of last night's (second) bloodbath (of the season) in Utah. I was away for yet another bachelor par- ...errrrr... "guy's getaway" and got back into town early this afternoon. Fortunately, last night's festivities didn't keep me from watching the game. But most unfortunately, last night's festivities didn't keep me from watching the game.

Rather than recap last night's game, I should just repost my column after the last disastrous performance by George Karl and the Nuggets in Utah. The only difference this time was that the Nuggets imploded late in the third quarter, compared to late within the first third of the first quarter last time. Back in early March, I argued that that loss ended any and all debates arguing that the Nuggets are a well-coached, well-prepared team. And frankly, last night would've been just as bad had Allen Iverson not decided to carry the team all by himself in the second quarter.

With last night's loss fresh in our minds, one of my friends from Denver asked me to look at how the Nuggets have faired this season against actual "teams" like the Jazz. For the purposes of this argument, "team" shall be defined as an NBA squad that meets the following requirements:

-Well-coached.
-There's a system of plays on offense.
-All 12 players run the coach's system, even in garbage time.
-The players give a solid effort in almost every game, on both ends.
-There hasn't been locker room dissension whatsoever (at least not that we know of).
-Whomever is on the bench is usually standing up and cheering for their teammates on the floor.

Based on those requirements, these are the only "teams" in the NBA this season, with the Nuggets record against them in parentheses: the Lakers (0-3), Jazz (1-3), Spurs (2-2), Pistons (0-2), Celtics (1-1), Hornets (1-2) and Rockets (1-2). Therefore, the Nuggets have gone 6-15 against actual "teams" this season. Not only is the Nuggets' record against "teams" awful, but they haven't won a single road game against a "team" all season. Worse yet, the Nuggets' point differential in those 15 defeats against "teams" is 16 points (20 on the road).

Even though everyone had last Thursday's game at Golden State penciled in as the Nuggets most important game of the season, I fear we (and by "we" I mean me, you, the press, the Nuggets players and especially, Coach Karl) have dangerously overlooked and underestimated tonight's contest at Pepsi Center against the Rockets. Under the radar (again), the Rockets have won five straight and are still in contention for the Western Conference's number one seed.

Unless the Nuggets make the playoffs, this could be the last time the Nuggets face a real "team" all season.