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News » Denver Nuggets Getting Inside 2009-11-07

Denver Nuggets Getting Inside 2009-11-07

Denver Nuggets Getting Inside 2009-11-07The Nuggets often have an us-against-the-world mentality. Even though Denver is 5-1, the Nuggets still feel they're not getting their just due.

"I don't think the league gives us that much respect for our mental toughness," said coach George Karl. "I think we kind of figure out how to win games when we're not playing well."

That was true last week when the Nuggets trailed Portland by seven midway through the fourth quarter. But it was the Trail Blazers who choked at the end, and Denver won 97-94.

"We just kept plugging away," Karl said of that victory.

That happened again Wednesday when the Nuggets were sluggish at New Jersey, and trailed 51-50 at halftime. But they got their act together in the second half and won easily, 122-94.

And, even though the Nuggets didn't win Friday at Miami, they came back from a 24-point third quarter deficit to lose just 96-88.

The Nuggets often have plugged away to get wins since they acquired point guard Chauncey Billups last November. There are often games when Billups doesn't shoot well but the Nuggets are able to get an ugly win.

The Nuggets have been able to gut out wins to start the season despite guard J.R. Smith serving a seven-game NBA suspension. Smith pled guilty to reckless driving due to a 2007 accident that killed a passenger in his car.

"The circumstances of not having J.R. and not knowing your rotation, it will probably be like that (until late November)," Karl said of the time when Smith is out and the adjustments that will be needed when he returns.

Until then, Karl hopes the Nuggets will continue to gut out wins even if they might not get a lot of credit for it.

HEAT 96, NUGGETS 88: The Nuggets won't equal their best NBA start since 1985-86. Miami made sure of that with a home win Friday over Denver, which had begun the season 5-0. The team from 24 years ago began 6-0.

The game wasn't nearly as close as the score indicated. The Heat led 78-56 entering the fourth quarter before the Miami players relaxed a bit.

The Nuggets got a game-high 30 points from forward Carmelo Anthony and guard Arron Afflalo had 18 off the bench. But no other Denver player scored more than 11. The Heat got 22 points from guard Dwyane Wade and 18 from center Jermaine O'Neal.

The Nuggets still can't be too displeased about their start. They've done it without guard J.R. Smith, having missed six of the seven games he has been suspended from by the NBA to start the season. And the Nuggets have played just two games at home, winning them both. They're 3-1 on the road.

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 7, 2009


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