The Denver Nuggets slogged through November as good as most anyone could have hoped given the rash of injuries and difficult schedule. Now sitting with an 8-10 record, the team looks to December to get back above .500 in winning percentage. It won’t be as easy as it looks however While the Nuggets opponents are considerably less talented this month than they were in November, Denver also has one of it’s longest road trips of the season to contend with. Additionally the injuries that plagued the Nuggets last month have found leaked into December, specifically the ankle and foot issues that Will Barton and Gary Harris respectively have been dealing with.
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On the road again
The Nuggets will find no reprieve in the schedule in terms of wonky road trips. Starting Saturday they head out on a six game road swing that will feature a lengthy portion of time on the east coast. To Denver’s benefit though is the road trip doesn’t feature much in the way of stiff competition. In fact, of the six opponents, only one (Utah Jazz) currently has a winning record and the rest are pretty much a who’s who when it comes to teams already looking ahead to the draft lottery, including match ups against the Philadelphia 76ers and Dallas Mavericks who are 29th and 30th respectively in the standings. All in all, despite being away from Denver for six straight, if the Nuggets are truly a team with playoff aspirations this season then they should expect to at bare minimum break even on this road trip.
You could definitely go with the pair of games against the Los Angeles Clippers here, or even one of the divisional match ups against the Portland Trail Blazers or Jazz, but for my money, anytime Carmelo Anthony comes to town its a highlight event. The New York Knicks will make the annual trip to Denver on Saturday, December 17th and with them of course comes the once Nuggets star turned infamous by his exit. Melo has put up similar numbers so far this season as he did in his last two injury plagued season in New York, perhaps signalling the end of his status as a top 5 scorer in the NBA. His defense is as bad as ever, but nonetheless he’s still a marquee guy in the eyes of many NBA fans. Now joined by Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, as well as surging sophomore Kristaps Porzingis, Melo is trying to get the Knicks back to the playoffs, a place they haven’t been since 2013. So while it’s not necessarily a marquee match up in terms of talent, the game against the Knicks nonetheless provides a great view into the Melo trade and how each franchise has fared now that we close in on being five years removed from the deal..and also the game provides an ample opportunity to boo Melo once again
Sneaky interesting game
The sneaky good game is the first game of the month, this Friday’s match up with the Houston Rockets. After a year hiatus, the Nuggets will make their return to national TV with the game being televised on ESPN. It also will be the first game the Nuggets have played against the Rockets this season which is significant because Houston has a new head coach in Mike D’Antoni who is doing some interesting things with the roster. IF you haven’t heard, James Harden, for all intents and purposes, has be playing the point guard position for Houston and his numbers are through the roof. He’s been playing fewer minutes than last season while still maintaining a scoring average around the 28-29 point per game range, but he’s averaging more than four more assists a game, up from 7.5 last year to 11.9 this year, which is good for tops in the league. Even more ridiculous, more than half of all assists the Rockets have while Harden is on the floor are coming from him as he is averaging a 54.6% assist rate. The last time someone topped that number over a whole season would be John Stockton way back in 90-91 (57.1%). Emmanuel Mudiay likely get’s the task of trying to contain Harden so it will be fun to see if Denver’s young PG is up to the task.
That divisional match up with the Blazers on December 15th is your best bet for the cheap seats. Currently $19 out the door over at Seatgeek.com gets you, well...in the door at the Can. If you’re not a fan of the upper level then $39 is your starting price point for the lower bowl, club level is going as cheap as $55 and there are currently no court side seats available. Word to the wise, if you’re thinking about splurging and seeing what club level is like, instead of dropping $55 minimum to get into club level how about going for the $75 a piece Breckenridge Distillery Dinner tickets. You still get to sit club level but you’ll also be treated top a multi-course dinner and three cocktails! The cocktails alone will run you over $30 at the stadium so it’s definitely a great value buy!