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Thank you, Houston, for mailing it in...

Tonight's hugely important win over the Houston Rockets made absolutely no sense to me. I was under the assumption that the Rockets had something to play for. Had the Rockets won tonight and gone victorious in their remaining few games, they could be the first seed in the Western Conference Playoffs. Moreover, the mere presence of Dikembe Mutombo in an opposing team's uniform for the Nuggets most important home game of the season had me totally freaked out. Being the skeptical, pessimistic, fearful-of-all-opponents Nuggets fan I've become in the George Karl Era, I could just see Mutombo - whom the Nuggets inexplicably casted away for nothing 12 years ago and whom is THE image fans have brandished in their minds when we remember the Nuggets history-making playoff upset over Karl's Supersonics in 1994 - inspiring his Rockets to end the Nuggets season.

But alas, that didn't happen.

Instead, the Rockets looked as though they were content to just go through the motions, while the Nuggets played with the sense of urgency that was missing in their last home game, against the Sacramento Kings Practice Squad last Saturday. (Oh, and a quick shout out is needed to Nuggets mascot and possible Coach Karl successor Rocky for the play of the game. In the second quarter, he sent a little kid over to Rockets' superstar Tracy McGrady while McGrady was on the bench. In good fun, McGrady tugged on the little tyke's ears, and was rewarded for his kind gesture with the kid giving McGrady a full-on leg hump. By my accounting, McGrady only made one more shot after that moment, and was plagued by foul trouble the rest of the night. See! I told you Rocky could be a great coach. After all, it's all about the intangibles!).

Meanwhile...surprise, surprise, surprise! The Dallas Maverick Choke Artists lost to the Seattle "Super"sonics in what could quite possibly be the last NBA game played in Seattle for a while (which is a damn shame and a black mark on the NBA in my opinion). Therefore, on Wednesday IF the Nuggets beat the Memphis Grizzlies at home and IF the Maverick Choke Artists lose at home to the New Orleans Hornets, the Nuggets would be the seventh-seed and likely face the Hornets (a team the Nuggets have a slight chance of beating in the playoffs), rather than being the eighth-seed and face the Los Angeles Lakers (a team the Nuggets have NO chance against whatsoever).

Now we Nuggets fans have to hope that a) the Golden State Warriors lose one of their last two games as an insurance policy and, b) IF the Warriors do win out, the Memphis Grizzlies don't turn out to be this season's equivalent of the 2006 San Francisco 49ers (a reference even casual Denver sports fan should painfully understand).

On a side note, I continue to be completely enamoured by the play of Allen Iverson. I know he tends to over-dribble, but so did Andre Miller in Coach Karl's "offense." Given A.I.'s diminished size and advanced age for a shooting guard, he has to be the most remarkable NBA player I've ever seen play in person - and I had the fortunate pleasure of watching MJ, Magic and Bird multiple times in the prime of their careers. I hope Nuggets fans everywhere realize how lucky we are to have a player like A.I. on the team, and pray that Coach Karl delivers some good fortune on A.I.'s behalf by making the playoffs and doing some damage when the Nuggets get there.