February 2 2010, 8:27 AM
Things just keep going right for the Denver Nuggets. Last night, the team played its fifth straight game without star forward Carmelo Anthony, facing the Sacramento Kings, one of their major rivals this year, despite the Kings being one of the worst teams in the league. Denver eked out a thrilling 112-109 win at the Pepsi Center in one of the team's best comeback games of the year. The Nuggets were down by 17 at one point and looked as good as dead heading into halftime. But they came out in the second half on a tear, using strong defense to get back in the game and take the lead (recap via the Associated Press). Last night's NBA power rankings from Sports Illustrated have the Nuggets at third in the country, behind only the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Los Angeles Lakers. The win comes on the heels of Coach George Karl being named the Western Conference Coach of the Month (via NBA.com). Karl guided the Nuggets to a Western Conference-best 12-3 record in January, with wins over top-dog teams like the Cavaliers, Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets, and San Antonio Spurs. The Nuggets' 12 wins in January are just one shy of the franchise-record of 13 wins set in March 1982. This all follows last week's selection of Karl as the coach of the Western Conference in the upcoming NBA All-Star Game. But Karl isn't hogging all the limelight. He's gunning to haul all of his assistant coaches to the All-Star Game, although he's only technically allowed to bring three. "As of now, that's the goal," Karl tells The Denver Post. "[We just have] to figure it out financially."