January offers new outlook for Nuggets after tough December

Denver has won at least 10 games in January each of past five seasons
by Aaron Lopez

Ah, the joy of January.

The first month of the calendar year has been extremely fruitful for the Denver Nuggets of late. They have won at least 10 games in January in each of the past five years, compiling a 56-22 record during that stretch.

Mired in a seven-game losing streak, Denver could use another strong January after bidding good riddance to December. The Nuggets have lost four in a row at home and will try to end the streak Wednesday night against the Philadelphia 76ers.

"I’m hoping that whatever patterns that have matriculated (in the past) happen with us as well," Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said after practice Tuesday.

“It seems like we haven’t won a game since the preseason. That’s what it feels like to me. It’ll be nice to start the new year and hopefully get a win and get that – it’s not even a monkey, it’s bigger than a gorilla, off our back.”

The Nuggets overcame a 10-point first-half deficit to beat the Sixers 103-92 in Philadelphia on Dec. 7. Nate Robinson scored 20 points off the bench and Jordan Hamilton hit three 3-pointers in a pivotal 67-second span of the fourth quarter.

The Nuggets have scored 100 points only once since beating Philadelphia, and they haven’t posted a 50-point second half in any of the games during their losing streak.

“We need to start the second half strong like the first half,” Denver forward Wilson Chandler said. “We need to play the whole 48 minutes.”

The Nuggets will be playing the second of three straight home games. They are 7-7 at Pepsi Center this season and play 11 of their next 17 games at home.


WHEN: 7 p.m. MT
WHERE: Pepsi Center, Denver
TV; RADIO: Altitude; AM-950

DENVER (14-16)

F Wilson Chandler
F Kenneth Faried
C J.J. Hickson
G Jordan Hamilton
G Ty Lawson

F Thaddeus Young
F Evan Turner
C Spencer Hawes
G Michael Carter-Williams
G Hollis Thompson

Danilo Gallinari (knee) and JaVale McGee (fractured left tibia) are out.
PHILADELPHIA:Arnett Moultrie (left ankle) and Nerlens Noel (left knee) are out.

Denver and Philadelphia have played pretty evenly at Pepsi Center, with the Nuggets leading 5-4 since 2003-04 . . . The overall series has been extremely balanced throughout history, with the teams splitting 64 games since the start of the 1980-81 season . . . Denver has held a slight advantage in the last decade though, having gone 16-12 against the 76ers since 1999-2000 . . . In 2010-11, the Sixers had their first series sweep (2-0) of the Nuggets since 2002-03 . . . Over the last nine seasons, the 18 meetings between these teams have been routinely close. Denver's average margin of victory in its 10 wins has been 7.9 points, while Philadelphia has claimed its eight wins by an average of just 6.5 points.