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The Denver Nuggets seem to have found their groove again, dispatching another quality opponent last night at the Pepsi Center and regaining the mojo that appeared lost without Carmelo Anthony. Denver used a little strategy called defense to stifle the Orlando Magic 115-97, holding Orlando’s Dwight Howard to just eight points, notes the Orlando Sentinel.
Last night’s game proves that when the Nuggets get serious about defense, they can probably beat any team in the league. It helps that Anthony seems to be getting his legs back under him after missing five games with a knee injury. He added 27 points, seven rebounds, and five assists, and Chauncey Billups put in 24 points on 8-14 shooting (via NBA.com, with video).
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The Nuggets finished the game with six players in double figures, including Kenyon Martin, who notched his 12th double-double of the season. Anthony, however, admits he’s “concerned” about the Nuggets’ lack of consistency against the league’s lesser teams. They better figure it out, because in the stacked Western Conference, playoff seeding will come down to just a few games.
The Denver Post’s Dave Krieger opines that the Nuggets are at least one big man away from contending in the Western Conference. He suggests the team find a way to add a fourth solid big man off the bench to help Nene, Martin, and Chris “Birdman” Andersen stay out of foul trouble—a player like Indiana’s 6-foot-11 role player Jeff Foster, or 7-foot Washington Wizards center Brendan Haywood.
Krieger’s right: Unless the Nuggets beef up their front line in order to hang with the likes of the Los Angeles Lakers, about the only thing Nuggets fans can look forward to this summer will be Anthony’s wedding to longtime fiancÃ©e LaLa Vazquez, which the couple announced yesterday (via People).