In a season full of impressive feats, the Nuggets road record tops the list
Even with all kinds of uncertainty with their roster, the Denver Nuggets just keep pushing on. Even with lingering questions about when or whether Jamal Murray and/or Michael Porter Jr. are coming back, the team just keeps on winning.
Even on the road.
Actually, especially on the road.
The recent two-game trip to Charlotte and Indiana is exhibit No. 1. On Monday, the Nuggets tangled with a solid and probably playoff-bound Hornets team. With a postseason berth on the line for the Hornets, every game is absolutely crucial. So you knew there would be no let-up on the part of the home team.
The Hornets have to keep their collective feet on the gas pedal and they know it. And the Nuggets knew the same thing on Monday. And the boys from Denver came away with a tough, hard-fought, 113-109 win.
Two nights later in Indiana against the Pacers, a team not nearly as formidable as the Hornets, the Nuggets again took care of business with a 125-118 win. They built a big lead, lost it and then rallied for the victory.
I believe a fair prediction would have been winning one one of those two games. But again, the Nuggets just keep plugging away and keep winning. Especially on the road. And we all know the No. 1 reason for that. The league MVP.
How about those two games for Nikola Jokic?
On Monday in Charlotte, he put up yet another triple-double – 26 points, 19 rebounds and 11 assists. Then on Wednesday, he was just one assist shy of a triple-double – 37 more points, 13 more rebounds and nine more assists. In two games, both on the road, Jokic contributes 63 points, 37 rebounds and 20 assists.
It’s pretty interesting when you break the Nuggets down at home and on the road. Keeping in mind that the NBA, among the four major sports, is the toughest place to win on the road. The road win percentage in the NBA is less than the NFL, Major League Baseball and the NHL. It’s simply really tough to win on the road in the NBA. Unless, it seems, you are the Nuggets.
After the two wins this week, the Nuggets are 24-16 on the road. That’s the third-best road winning percentage in the Western Conference and fourth in the entire NBA. The Nuggets have figured out how to win on the road. And that reality, come playoff time, might be a valuable one.
So, why is it that the Nuggets are so good on the road? I believe the answer begins and ends with Jokic. The guy just goes out and balls. He plays his game. He adapts to what the defense gives him, no matter if he’s playing on his home court or on the road. He is not intimidated by other superstars. He is not persuaded by a hostile crowd. He’s just plays his game. His incredible game. And then the rest of team seems to follow.
It doesn’t need to be broken down here, but I can tell you his road numbers and home numbers are almost identical. It’s uncanny.
Led by The Joker, the Denver Nuggets have become one of the very best road teams in the NBA. And that may come in really handy come playoff time.