Last night, the short handed Nuggets put up a valiant effort against one of the top four teams in the league – the San Antonio Spurs. Tonight, the short handed Nuggets will battle one of the top four teams in the league in the Oklahoma City Thunder. While the Spurs and Thunder’s approach to winning basketball are quite different, there’s no denying that both are on the early season short list of teams who look capable of competing for the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

For the Nuggets, while the win/loss record may not currently show it, the team is playing an overall appealing brand of basketball. Denver doesn’t seem to be as lost on defense as early in the season, and the offensive execution has become much more smooth and instinctive. When the trio of Danilo Gallinari, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Jusuf Nurkic return to the court, the subsequent jump in talent bodes well for future wins – if they can continue the recent execution on both sides of the ball. However, that win/loss improvement will most likely not come tonight. Instead, look for the team to further establish itself as a reflection of their coach, Michael Malone, and play hard nosed, no quit basketball.