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News » Denver Nuggets Getting Inside 2009-11-27

Denver Nuggets Getting Inside 2009-11-27

Denver Nuggets Getting Inside 2009-11-27The Nuggets used to regularly kick away a few games a season at home to losing teams, but that problem seems to be a thing of the past.

Denver last season lost only one game to a team that finished with the season with a losing record, and that one comes with asterisk -- Detroit was 21-12 when it beat the Nuggets last January before collapsing and finishing 39-43.

The Nuggets have continued to have no problems with losing outfits this season. With home games coming up against three losing teams -- New York on Friday, Minnesota on Sunday and Golden State on Tuesday -- the Nuggets are 6-0 overall at home, including easy wins over current losing outfits Memphis, Toronto, Chicago and New Jersey.

"It's leadership, professionalism and the change of culture," Nuggets coach George Karl said of the team being doing so well for more than a year against losing teams. "It's better daily habits and leadership coming in the form of Chauncey (Billups), who knows the value of every win."

Denver's change has happened since the Nov. 3, 2008 acquisition of Billups from Detroit. Billups knows that falling to a losing team at home can end up being costly when it comes to playoff positioning.

"Those games are just as big as the Lakers team or San Antonio," Billups said. "You don't want those ones to come back and haunt you."

The Nuggets weren't haunted last season. They finished with the No. 2 seed in the West -- they tied Portland at 54-28 for the Northwest title but won the tiebreaker. One stumble to a losing team at home could have cost Denver the division.

"Our focus is much different," Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony said, comparing the current Nuggets with past Denver teams.

NUGGETS 124, TIMBERWOLVES 111: The number 13 hardly has proved unlucky for the Nuggets. On Tuesday, Denver easily beat New Jersey, which had lost its first 13 games of the season. And on Wednesday at Minnesota, the Nuggets had no problem with a team that also came in with a 13-game losing streak.

The Nuggets, who got 22 points from forward Carmelo Anthony, took a 62-42 halftime lead at the Target Center and cruised to the win. Guard Chauncey Billups added 19 points.

The final score makes the game appear much closer than it actually was. The Nuggets led 102-79 entering the fourth quarter before resting their top starters.

It might be early in the season, but the Nuggets (11-4) are in tight battle with Portland for the Northwest Division lead, so every game is important. The Nuggets also are gaining some lengths ahead of Utah (7-7), which had been picked by some to contend for the Northwest title.

The Nuggets got a solid all-around game from Nene, who had 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Most surprising were the assists since Nene entered the game averaging just 2.1.

The Timberwolves (1-14) were led by 22 points from Corey Brewer.

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 27, 2009


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