This season for the Denver Nuggets has shown more resemblance to a roller coaster than a typical basketball season. Down, then up, then repeat, maybe this season is more like a shampoo commercial. Regardless of your metaphor-of-choice, the Nuggets are riding on another upswing in momentum, but this time, I think it’s here to stay.
Most interestingly, the upturn comes on the heels on the worst stretch of ball this team has played this season. The 8-game losing streak was punctuated by a sideline blowup from veteran PG Andre Miller aimed at head coach Brian Shaw. That was rock bottom for the Nuggets this year, but instead of hanging over the team like Eeyore’s dark cloud, it has been the springboard for the recent winning ways.
After the sideline skirmish, Brian Shaw and the coaching staff had ‘clear the air’ meetings with the every player on the team and shortened the rotation to nine guys. The results have been five straight wins and four straight blowouts and the best basketball of the year. The team is loose and seems to be having more fun than earlier in the season. This version of the Nuggets can compete with any team in the association.
So what was the turning point? That’s right, that Andre Miller blowup. If the Nuggets make the playoffs for an eleventh straight season this year, point to the loss at home to the 76ers on New Year’s Day. Point to Andre Miller. Point to Brian Shaw. More importantly than all that, though, point to every single guy on the roster. They didn’t take their ball and go home, they took the ball and went straight to the rack.