February 25, 2009 2:10 PM
Is it a pothole or crater awaiting Nuggets?
Hit the brake -- or the panic button. Either one will do. The Nuggets haven't been playing so well lately.
Denver has a 37-20 record going into tonight's game against the Atlanta Hawks at Pepsi Center. The Nuggets have lost three straight and four of their past seven games. It's how they're losing that is cause for more than casual concern.
In their past four losses, the Nuggets have been beaten by an average of 25 points a game. That includes a 44-point loss at New Jersey earlier this month, and 38-point loss at home this week against the defending NBA champion Boston Celtics.
The Nuggets' defensive intensity has gone south, and the opposition's point totals are rising fast. Looks as if Denver is going through a bumpy patch, the kind that could heal itself sooner than later. Except . . . the team's glaring weaknesses are being exploited.
No backup threat in the post. Weak play, outside of Chauncey Billups, at the guard positions. And Billups is struggling too, with just three points against the Celtics.
Denver was hamstrung at the trade deadline because of salary issues. The team put itself in that position and will have to deal with the consequences. They'd better deal with those consequences quickly.
That sound you hear is the Portland Trailblazers and Utah Jazz running quickly up the ladder in the Northwest Division.