Dec 20 2011; Denver, CO, USA; Members of the Denver Nuggets huddle together before the start of a preseason game against the Phoenix Suns at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Nuggets look to keep strong play alive in 2nd half of season

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With All Star weekend over for the lone Nugget who particiapted, it’s time to get focused. The Denver Nuggets are currently the 5th seed in the Western Conference coming out of the All Star break. Their home record of 22-3 is second best in the Western Conference behind the conference leading San Antonio Spurs who have a 22-2 record at home. The Nuggets are 3rd in scoring in the NBA, averaging 105.1 points per game this season. They’re 2nd in rebounding, averaging 45.5 per game. And they’re playing unselfish basketball, averaging 23.9 assists per game, which is good for 3rd in the NBA. Want to know the scary thing about that? They did it all without putting a guy in the All Star game. It’s safe to say that the Nuggets are not only one of the hottest teams in the Western Conference but in the NBA.

 

The Nuggets are the definition of “team”. Most teams have that one guy who leads the team in every category and stand out above the rest while the other players play decent enough to get by. That’s not who the Nuggets are. The Nuggets truly make the game a team game. For the first half of the season, they had six players average double figures. Forward Danilo Gallinari led the team, averaging 17.2 points per contest. Behind him are Ty Lawson (15.8), Andre Iguodala (13.4), Kenneth Faried (12.3), and bench players Corey Brewer (11.3) and JaVale McGee (10.0).

It doesn’t stop there. The Nuggets also had five players average over 5 rebounds per game. Kenneth “The Manimal” Faried, who won the BBVA Rising Stars Game MVP, paced the Nuggets, averaging 9.7 rebounds per game. Faried finished the first half of the season with 23 double-doubles. He posted a 19 points 19 rebound game in early January against the Magic. Other players on the team averaging over 5 boards per game are Kosta Koufos (6.6), Gallinari (5.5), Iguodala (5.2), and bench player Wilson Chandler (5.2).

Lawson paced the team in assits, averaging 7.1 per game. Backup Andre Miller averaged 5.8 and Iguodala averaged 4.7.

Feb 7, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets small forward Kenneth Faried (35) reacts after dunking the ball in the third quarter against the Chicago Bulls at the Pepsi Center. The Nuggets won 128-96. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Nuggets faired well against the top teams during the first half of the season. Some notable games include only a 3 point loss to the Miami Heat, a 6 point win over the San Antonio Spurs, a 14 point victory over the LA Clippers, a 121-118 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder and a resounding 32 point win over the Chicago Bulls. Denver put together a 9-game winning streak before losing three in a row going into the All Star break. The three losses weren’t anything to worry about seeing as how the Nuggets were without three of their top performers.

Denver will be hoping that the All Star break will provide some much needed rest for the Nuggets starters and revitalize the entire team. Kenneth Faried was the lone Nugget to participate in All Star weekend so the rest should be well rested come the second half of the season.

For the second half of the season, the Nuggets will play some of the top teams in the NBA. They’ll play the Oklahoma City Thunder twice, the San Antonio Spurs twice, and the Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks, Memphis Grizzlies, Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, and Atlanta Hawks once. The road ahead of them is not an easy one but if they continue to play as a team and strengthen their defense during the second half of the season, the Nuggets will find themselves in the playoffs and ultimately trying to make a run for the NBA Finals.

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