Gary Harris celebrating after hitting a game winner to beat OKC.

Nuggets Notes: Nuggets Putting Together Best Home Season In Years

by Christopher Dempsey
Nuggets Insider
@chrisadempsey

With each big shot made down the stretch, the Pepsi Center erupted. The Nuggets’ game against Golden State on Feb. 3 was ear-piercing loud at the least, and flat-out deafening at the height of crowd cheering.

It was a record Pepsi Center crowd of 20,183, and they were treated to something becoming commonplace again at home – a win.

The Nuggets are steadily making the Pepsi Center a house of horrors for opponents once again. They are 22-7 at home, the fourth-best home record in the NBA as of Tuesday afternoon. The Nuggets’ 22 wins equals their entire home win total of last season, and has the Nuggets eyeing a number well within their reach – 30 home victories. One more home win would assure the Nuggets of their most home wins since finishing with 38 in the 2012-13 season.

The Nuggets have turned things around by feasting in a couple of areas. First off, they’ve handled teams under .500 at home, racking up a 14-2 record against those teams this season. Second, they have a 6-0 record against teams coming to Denver on the second of a back-to-back.

“To be a good team, you have to win at home,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “Obviously, you have to steal games on the road. But you have to protect your home court, and it’s great to see us doing that. And I think that’s why you see crowds like the crowds we are getting. Our fans are starting to say, ‘this team is fun to watch, they are exciting, and they are winning.’ That’s always great to be a part of that. So, I love the fact that we’re able to do that.”

Fans are coming back to the games. The Nuggets are averaging 16,685 fans through 29 games this season. That’s an increase of 1,915 fans per game from thel average of 14,770 last season. They have sold out eight games, which is already more than their three sellouts last season.

The Nuggets just finished off collecting three wins in the three games on this most recent home stand. They’ve won five of their last six home games.

“If we want to be a playoff team, we’ve got to defend our home court,” Harris said. “We’ve done a great job with that. The crowds have been great. We’re just trying to make a concerted effort to take business at home.”

HARRIS WANTS MORE: Nuggets guard Gary Harris has been on fire from the 3-point line of late, making 15 3-pointers and shooting 55.5 percent from the arc in his last four games. But is this the best his jumper has felt this season?

He shook his head, no. “It was feeling really good at the beginning of the season,” Harris said. “I’m trying to get back to that.”

ARTHUR CONTRIBUTES: Darrell Arthur threw down a thunderous dunk in the second half of the Nuggets’ win over Charlotte on Monday night. It drew oooohs and aaahs from the Pepsi Center crowd. But of more importance to the veteran forward has been the playing time he’s received in recent games.

Arthur has played at least 13 minutes in three of the last four games, and is averaging 8.3 points on 59 percent from the field, including 50 percent (4-of-8) from the 3-point line.

“He’s impacting games,” Malone said. “We don’t win the Golden State game without D.A. We don’t win (Monday night) without D.A.”

Christopher Dempsey: christopher.dempsey@altitude.tv and @chrisadempsey on Twitter