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Giving thanks...Nuggets style...

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With Thanksgiving just days away, here are some sincere thanks...

...to George Karl, for visibly giving a more enthusiastic and earnest coaching effort this season. Not only is Karl regularly working the refs, but he's holding his players more accountable (as evident with his early timeout in the Chicago game when the score was like 6 to 2).

...to Renaldo Balkman, for bringing renewed energy and hustle off the bench, allowing us to forget about Eduardo Najera's absence.

...to Kenyon Martin, for overcoming microfracture surgery on both knees and working himself into fabulous shape, even though he could've just taken his guaranteed money and called it a career.

...to Nene, for taking his off-season workout regimen seriously for the first time in his career and giving the Nuggets a performance commensurate with his paycheck.

...to Steve Hess, for getting Nene and K-Mart into such great shape. Let's cross our fingers that these guys stay healthy!

...to Anthony Carter, for accepting his role as backup point guard without a fuss and giving the same hard nosed effort every night nonetheless. AC gives the Nuggets more bang for the buck than any player on the team.

...to Chris Andersen, for getting his life back together just in time for a second chance in the NBA. Here's hoping Birdman's rib heals up soon because we really need him out there!

...to the Timberwolves and Thunder, for being in our division.

...to the Kroenke Cronies (yes, those guys), for recognizing that the Allen Iverson/Carmelo Anthony combination wasn't working and making the tough decision to trade AI for Chauncey Billups. You have to wonder, however: if they had known they could get Chauncey for AI, would Marcus Camby still be a Nugget?

...to Rocky, for being the best mascot in the history of sports (that includes you, Chicken!) and for finally being inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame.

...to Carmelo Anthony, for averaging career highs in assists, offensive and defensive rebounding to make up for his struggles with his shooting. And for being an integral part in bringing a basketball gold medal back to the USA.

...to Chauncey Billups, for bringing much needed stability and leadership at the point guard position. It's no accident that the Nuggets are 8-2 since Chauncey's return to Denver. And if you guide the Nuggets to playoff series win, I'll forgive you for crushing my high school in the state tournament every year.

...to the readers of this blog. We may not always agree on the issues surrounding our Nuggets (or Broncos, apparently), but your passion and enthusiasm from day one has never gone unnoticed or unappreciated. As much as I enjoy writing this blog for my own cathartic reasons, it's even better knowing there are other Nuggets fans who care about this team just as much - if not more - than I do.

On a side note, I'm pulling a rare fan back-to-back this week. I'll be at the Clippers/Nuggets game in Los Angeles tomorrow night and at Pepsi Center for Hornets/Nuggets on Thursday. Frankly, I can't think of a better way to spend Thanksgiving. And no, I'm not flying on the Nuggets' charter.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and Go Nuggets!