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In midst of road schedule, Nuggets embrace Moe System

Plus-minus more important as Denver tries to survive schedule imbalance

Under coach George Karl, the Nuggets have enjoyed unprecedented success on the road over the past eight seasons.
Doug Pensinger/NBAE/Getty Images
Time for a Doug Moe refresher course.

Because the NBA schedule doesn’t always unfold with a nice blend of home and road games, the former Nuggets coach believed that a plus-minus system provided a more accurate reading of where his team stood in the standings.

Under the Moe System, teams receive plus-1 for a road win and minus-1 for a home loss. Through nine games, the Nuggets have a 4-5 record but sit at plus-1 (two road wins, one home loss) under the Moe System.

The Los Angeles Clippers, playing as well as any team in the Western Conference, are even (two road wins, two road losses). Oklahoma City leads the Northwest Division, but also are even in plus-minus.

When the 2012-13 NBA schedule was released in July, the Nuggets learned they would play six of their first eight, nine of their first 12, 17 of their first 23 and 22 of their first 32 games on the road.

They’ll knock out three more road games in the next week starting Saturday against the San Antonio Spurs (7-2). Denver faces the Memphis Grizzlies (6-1) on Monday and the Minnesota Timberwolves (5-3) on Wednesday.

By Thanksgiving, the Nuggets will have nearly a quarter of their road schedule done for the year.

Right now, it’s not about putting together long winning streaks; it’s about surviving.

“The big thing for us is at the end of November, be a plus-4 or plus-5,” Nuggets coach George Karl said. “Our record might be under .500, but plus-4 or plus-5 is the desire. It’s not going to be easy.”

Since Karl took over as coach midway through 2004-05, Denver has done well on the road. The Nuggets have finished above .500 away from home three times in the past eight seasons – something they had never done in 29 previous years in the NBA.

Chandler Still Sore

Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler didn’t play Thursday night against Miami and Karl was unsure he would be able to return against San Antonio.

Chandler, still recovering from surgery on his left hip, has appeared in four of Denver’s first nine games. He is averaging 6.5 points and 5.0 rebounds in 17.3 minutes.

Second-year forward Jordan Hamilton got the call to fill Chandler’s role off the bench against Miami. He responded with a season-high 11 points on the strength of 3-for-7 three-point shooting.

Notes: The Nuggets are 4-3 in their last seven games at AT&T Center … The road team won all four games between Denver and San Antonio last season … Nuggets center JaVale McGee has scored 34 points and blocked six shots over the past two games.