Nuggets Hang on Without Key Teammates

April 5 2010, 8:51 AM
The Denver Nuggets claimed victory Saturday night, coming back from a 21-point deficit to the unimpressive Los Angeles Clippers to win 98-90 at the Pepsi Center (game recap via The Associated Press). It was the team's second consecutive win after a brutal 1-5 road trip that left fans concerned about their chances going into the playoffs. The win puts the Nuggets in a four-way tie for second place in the Western Conference (although they are listed at third place in the conference, behind the Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Lakers), according to NBA.com. Playoff seeding is still on the line for the Nuggets, and a top-four spot would guarantee at least one series with home-court advantage. The Nuggets need that help given their ailing front court: Chris "Birdman" Andersen twisted an ankle Thursday night and missed Saturday's game against the Clippers. He remains day-to-day, writes The Associated Press, and the Nuggets are still without defensive leader Kenyon Martin. The team is finally looking to add another big man to help out, with outlets suggesting the Nuggets will sign Brian Butch, a six-foot-11 behemoth who could help solidify the front line (via NBA Fanhouse). The team can mix and match all they want on the basketball court, but the coaching situation went from bad to worse over the weekend, with The Denver Post reporting that cancer-stricken coach George Karl will miss "at least" the first round of the playoffs and potentially more games as he recovers from throat and neck cancer treatments. Karl's partner, Kim Van Deraa, says Karl has lost 25 pounds and will likely feed himself through a tube routed directly to his stomach for the next three to six months. Assistant coach Adrian Dantley has done his best without Karl and will have to keep it up to close out the end of an emotionally taxing Nuggets season.