Prior to the abbreviated 66-game NBA schedule in 2011-12, the Denver Nuggets put together a string of four consecutive 50-win seasons.

Coach George Karl would love to make it five out of six.

“Fifty is a difficult challenge,” Karl said after practice Wednesday. “I’d take 50 right now. That’s not a guarantee we get fourth (in the Western Conference), but I’d take 50.”

As always, the Nuggets will try to outrun the opposition at every opportunity in 2012-13. Unlike in seasons past, they will not be sneaking up on anyone.

After a rousing first-round playoff series against the third-seeded Los Angeles Lakers and the offseason acquisition of All-Star and Olympian Andre Iguodala, the Nuggets are no longer flying under the radar.

As opening night in the NBA approaches, Denver is a popular choice to challenge for a top-three seed in the Western Conference – with one national publication picking the Nuggets to win the West outright.

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