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Denver Nuggets: There’s no place like home

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This last season, your Denver Nuggets took their first step back towards owning their house, instead of getting owned

Basketball scuplture outside of the Pepsi Center
Balls. Big Brass Ones. It should be tough to play at the Pepsi Center... for the other guys
Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Watching the Boston Celtics-Washington Wizards series has been a fun endeavor this postseason, with each team taking their turn at knocking the other around. There’s no love lost between these two squads, and this kettle has been boiling all season long. What’s probably been the most fun part of the series to date is that the home team has won each and every game of the five thus far. For those of us without a dog in the fight, the rabid fan bases each overjoyed at getting to see their teams carry the day. I can only hope the trend continues through game six, as if ever a series deserved a game seven, this is the one.

Home hoops dominance carries a special place in the hearts of many Denver Nuggets fans, as basketball at altitude has often had an attitude that is hard for the visitors to adjust to. That long-term habit has made the last four seasons all the more difficult to swallow, as suddenly the juggernaut that was typically Nuggets basketball at a mile high became a sight and site for the other guy. Here’s a quick look at the home record for the Denver Nuggets for the past five seasons.

2016-2017: 22 home wins

Given their history of home dominance, you’d think that three games over .500 would be nothing to crow about, but last season was a turn back to the positive for these Nuggets, with their first positive home record in three seasons. Home game highlights last season included a 25-point clipping of the Los Angeles Clippers, a 23-point laugher against the Dallas Mavericks, and a 22-point thumping of the Golden State Warriors. Each of those signature wins came in the second half of a season that took some time to find their footing. Here’s to hoping that having another season under their belts gets the team off to a much faster start in the upcoming year.

2015-2016: 18 home wins

You read that right, 18. Coach Michael Malone’s first year came with some challenges, and a change of scheme and pace from the coaches he replaced. Excuses aside, this was the worst home record the Nuggets had tallied since the disastrous 2002-2003 season. In ‘02-’03, Denver rang up 13 home victories (amongst 17 victories in total that season) to tie for last place in the league and a ticket to drafting Carmelo Anthony. Though ‘15-’16 was the lowest spot for home wins in over a dozen seasons, the year still had a few Pepsi Center highlights, with the Nuggets handing Golden State one of their nine regular-season losses in their historic 73-9 season, a 17-point manhandling of a very good Toronto Raptors squad, a thrilling overtime victory against the Mavs, and a 4-point squeaker against the ever-dangerous San Antonio Spurs in the second-to-last game of the season.

2014-2015: 19 home wins

Brian Shaw’s second season had the Nuggets out of the gates decently enough, hovering around .500 ball for the first quarter of the season, with a back-to-back set of wins against the Oklahoma City Thunder and the New Orleans Pelicans. The Nuggets whipped the Pels by 20 points, and the coach and team were saying positive things all around. Shaw had returned the offense to a small-ball, outside-in sort of a feel, and the players were responding positively. But couple of negative runs in the next quarter-season saw Shaw throw a few players under the bus, and the team respond negatively. It was a slow death spiral to early March before Shaw was shown the door. Melvin Hunt picked up eight of those 19 home wins in the 23 games he got to run the ship. The effect was obvious. Shaw’s season record had the team winning at a .339 clip. Hunt took that up nearly a hundred points (.435) just by letting the horses run.

2013-2014: 22 home wins

Sounds familiar, no? Perspective is a funny thing. I’m so excited about 22 home wins this past season, and was so disappointed in the same four seasons ago. The toughest pill to swallow about the ‘13-’14 season was that it was played with 80-85% of the team that had enjoyed a very successful campaign the year prior. New coaches, a new GM, new players, and a new system all combined to let the air out of a historic balloon in Shaw’s first season at the Nuggets helm. The Nuggets were into January before they had what looked like a signature win, the first of three double-digit home wins. There weren’t many more wins that season that were of a cruise-through-the-fourth-quarter variety, to the frustration of team and fan base alike.

2012-2013: 38 home wins

I’m not sure I’m emotionally prepared to talk about this just yet. I miss it. I miss it so much.

Sadly, an inverse bell curve is unlikely. It would be spectacular, but ‘12-’13 was a historic season, both at home and overall. What sort of a lift is possible? There have been a couple of sizable upswings in this metric in the Nuggets past, perhaps none more dramatic than what Denver saw after that awful ‘02-’03 campaign that netted them Carmelo Anthony in that summer’s draft. Melo’s rookie year saw a 15-game uptick, with 28 home wins and their first playoff appearance of a ten-season streak.

Is there anything about the upcoming year that could bring that sort of a lift? What’s a realistic home record for the upcoming season, and why?

Poll

41 games at home, just like every season. Next season, the Denver Nuggets win __ of those

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    0-5
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    6-10
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    11-15
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    16-20
    (1 vote)
  • 13%
    21-25
    (51 votes)
  • 61%
    26-30
    (232 votes)
  • 18%
    31-35
    (69 votes)
  • 3%
    36-40
    (12 votes)
  • 3%
    41. You should probably explain yourself below if you voted for this.
    (12 votes)
378 votes total Vote Now