Game 60: 2014-15 NBA Season

32-27 (15-16 on road)
Series 1-0
20-39 (12-18 at home)
March 3rd, 2015
Pepsi Center – Denver, CO
7:00 PM MT
Altitude / 104.3 FM

Michael Carter-Williams
PG Ty Lawson
Khris Middleton
SG Gary Harris
Giannis Antetokounmpo
SF Wilson Chandler
Ersan Ilyasova
PF Danilo Gallinari
Zaza Pachulia
C Kenneth Faried
Brew Hoop Blogs Look at the URL, my friend
Damien Inglis (ankle), O.J. Mayo (hamstring), Jabari Parker (knee) are all out Injuries Darrell Arthur (calf) – doubtful; Jusuf Nurkic (ankle) – out indefinitely

With 15 road victories, the Bucks have totaled their highest amount of road wins through 59 games since 2001-02 … when George Karl was their head coach!

Etc… The Nuggets have won nine of their last 11 games against the Bucks at the Pepsi Center. That’s about to become nine of 12.

When the Denver Nuggets face off against the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night at the Pepsi Center, they just might see a sliver of optimism for their own future. After all, these exact same (sort of) Bucks won a lowly 15 games just a season ago, and now they’re all but a lock to appear in the 2015 NBA Playoffs.

The parallels to Denver aren’t exact but bear some comparison. Prior to winning just 15 games last season, the Bucks had drafted an incredibly raw yet impressive foreigner with a hard-to-pronounce name in Giannis Antetokounmpo in the middle of the draft’s first round (15th overall pick to be exact). Prior to winning just 20-something games this season, our Nuggets drafted an incredibly raw yet impressive foreigner with a less hard-to-pronounce name is Jusuf Nurkic.

The Bucks suffered through their 15-win season with a former Laker-turned-head coach manning the bench in Larry Drew. The Nuggets are suffering through a 20-something win season with a former Laker-turned-head coach manning the bench in Brian Shaw. (Remember what I wrote earlier in the season about former Lakers turned head coaches!)

At season's end a year ago, the Bucks canned Drew in place of future Hall of Famer Jason Kidd, who has done a great job with a young Bucks team missing it's arguably best player in rookie Jabari Parker. Could the Nuggets do the same and bring in a former (alleged) wife beater and (alleged) heavy drinker as a head coach themselves at season's end?

At season’s end a year ago, the Bucks landed the second pick in the draft which became the aforementioned Parker. Could the Nuggets luck into a top-three pick themselves in May’s NBA Draft Lottery? We’re certainly entitled to some luck.

There you have it Nuggets fans. With a little draft lottery luck and a coaching change, our team's fortunes could turn around quickly. So when watching our Nuggets face off against the Bucks on Tuesday, think about what could be for the Nuggets and not what has been. Because what has been has been ugly, ugly, ugly …

Three things to look for in this game …

1) Will Barton, baby!
The Nuggets newly acquired two-guard has been a pleasant surprise in an otherwise forgettable season, averaging an impressive 16.6 ppg on 49.2% shooting from the field and equally impressive 41.2% from three-point range. But he’s only played five games thus far in a Nuggets uniform, so it will be interesting to see if he can keep it going.

2) Danilo Gallinari’s continued improvement
In addition to the play of Barton, the Nuggets other post-All Star break surprise has been the play of the oft-injured Gallinari, who has only had one bad game since the break. As Gallo’s confidence grows, perhaps the confidence of his teammates could grow as well.

3) MCW meshing in
The 2013-14 Rookie of the Year, Michael Carter-Williams, is now a Buck as the result of a bizarre trade deadline deal with Philadelphia. The Bucks had a good thing going with former point guard Brandon Knight and yet traded for Carter-Williams anyway. It will be interesting to see how Carter-Williams is ingratiating himself with his new teammates.

Scouting the Bucks

Bucks Non-Stiffs

-Giannis Antetokounmpo: If the 2013 NBA Draft were to be redone, "The Greek Freak" would have been the number one overall pick. With a 7'4" wingspan and natural ability that far exceeds his limited basketball-playing experience, Antetokounmpo could be a force to reckon with in the NBA for years to come.

-Michael Carter-Williams: Carter-Williams gets criticized for his crummy shooting, but that doesn't change the fact that he's a triple-double waiting to happen on any given night.

Bucks Stiffs

-Paul Mokeski, Brad Lohaus and Randy Breuer (trust me, look 'em up)

Parting Shot

It's an icky feeling rooting for your own team to lose, but at this point in the Nuggets' 2014-15 campaign that's exactly what we need: more losses for a better chance at a high lottery pick. Because should the Nuggets get lucky with a top-three pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, they – like the Bucks – could become relevant again quickly.