February 24, 2009 11:59 PM
Moe system still favors Nuggets
By Aaron J. Lopez
Yes, the Nuggets have lost three in a row. Yes, their performance against the Boston Celtics was abysmal. Yes, they are banged up. And, yes, they have six more difficult games ahead of them, including three on the road.
When things look as though they are unraveling, just look for the wisdom (I use this term loosely) of Doug Moe.
As it currently stands, the Nuggets lead Northwest Division challengers Portland Trail Blazers by a half-game 1½ games and Utah by three games. Under the Moe system, awarding plus-1 for a road win and minus-1 for a home loss, the Nuggets still have a comfortable cushion on both teams.
With 17 road wins and seven home losses, the Nuggets are a solid plus-10 on the season, putting them on target to finish 51-31. The Trail Blazers have played two fewer road games and are a mere plus-7, putting them on track to go 48-34. The Jazz, brutally poor away from Utah, are a plus-3, meaning they are on pace to finish 44-38.
If the Nuggets can survive this difficult stretch, the schedule really turns in their favor the final six weeks of the season. They will play 12 of their final 19 games against teams currently below .500. Considering they are 20-4 against losing teams, it seems the Nuggets are still in position to survive their first real slump of the season - even if it extends for another few games.