Game 39: 2013-14 NBA Season

14-25 (4-17 on road)
Series 1-0
20-18 (11-8 at home)
January 17th, 2014
Pepsi Center – Denver, CO
7:00 PM MT
Altitude / 950 AM

Kyrie Irving PG Ty Lawson
C.J. Miles SG Randy Foye
Luol Deng SF Wilson Chandler
Tristan Thompson PF Kenneth Faried
Anderson Varejao C J.J. Hickson
Fear The Sword Blogs Denver Stiffs
None Injuries Danilo Gallinari (knee), Andre Miller (missing) and JaVale McGee (leg) are all out, Darrell Arthur (groin) is day-to-day
Cavs coach Mike Brown got a little revenge on a trip back to L.A. recently, handing them a loss a little over a season after his early firing last season. Etc… The Nuggets are winners of six of their last seven games, averaging 117.7 points per game over that stretch. In their 8 game losing streak prior, they were averaging 93.5 ppg.

Your Denver Nuggets bring a six-out-of-seven game winning streak back home to the Pepsi Center Friday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers, winners of four of their last eight games after a six-game skid of their own. The Nuggets split their recent road trip, and not in the way most would have expected, with an embarrassing loss at Utah followed by what may have been their statement win of the year at Golden State on Wednesday night (with Denver Stiff’s own Nate Timmons in attendance).

In the Golden State game, the Nuggets continued their practice of team-wide streaks, whether hot or cold. It seems as if every guy on the team is lighting it up (at Golden State, 50% shooting on three-pointers and 56% FG shooting) or as if they’ve saran-wrapped our bucket. It’s been amazing to watch the team catch fire when they do, and Wednesday night the only thing that outshone Denver’s four 20+ scorers (Wilson Chandler, Ty Lawson, Randy Foye, and led by Nate Robinson’s 24) was J.J. Hickson’s career-high 24 rebounds. But Timmons already recapped that game. As en fuego as the Nuggets were on Wednesday, they were equally abysmal on Monday against the Jazz. One of the early-season caveats by most pundits (and most Stiffs) was that this would be an up-and-down season, and we’ve all witnessed exactly that. Reports after the Utah game had Lawson calling the team out for their efforts, and they came out focused and aggressive two nights later.

You hope that focus (and good fortune) can continue against Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers, because Irving is the heart and soul of a Cavs team sitting at 14-25 and still only three spots outside a playoff slot in the Eastern Conference. Kyrie averages nearly 26 points per game against the Nuggets, but has recently been going through a scoring slump of his own (13.7 ppg in his last three). While the Nuggets are a much deeper team than the Cavs, they may need that depth, as the Nuggets have 5 players on their injury report (Chandler still listed as day-to-day, but played in both of the recent contests) and Cleveland is currently injury-free.

A win at Golden State. A loss at home against the Philadelphia 76ers. It’s been a wild season, and all you hope is that the young Nuggets keep learning from their mistakes. Recent play by the youth movement of Evan Fournier and Quincy Miller suggests a bright Nuggets future, and more than anything, you hope to ride out the bumps along the way. Let’s hope the Nuggets are not too cavalier tonight (I had to).

One more thing… It’s a very small sample size, but there’s evidence to suggest that having a member of the Denver Stiffs writing crew improves Nuggets road game performance after Nate Timmons Bay Area trip this week. I’d like to help the team as much as I can, and so am bravely volunteering to go watch the next Nuggets game in Miami. I give.

What do you expect for tonight, Stiffs? Are the Nuggets on their way, or primed for a letdown? One of the signs a team is maturing is flattening out those curves on that roller coaster ride. Are we ready?