Nuggets Can Make A Move At Home

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — You have to wonder how many boxes Andre Iguodala still has unpacked in his new place in Denver.

Acquired this summer in a four-team deal, Iguodala hasn’t had much time to get settled in his new city. Over the first two months of the season, his Nuggets have had just one homestand that lasted more than a game. That was a two-game set against the Warriors and Hornets in the days after Thanksgiving.

Every other home game the Nuggets have played has been sandwiched by road games. In total, they’ve played 22 of their 32 games away from the Pepsi Center.

While the Nuggets’ 17-15 record may be disappointing to those who projected them as a top-four team in the Western Conference, George Karl seems pretty happy.

“I think it’s getting better, I think it’s improving and I’m very proud of them,” Karl told the Denver Post. “This is a tough stretch and we’re above and beyond where I thought we’d be. I thought 16-16 would be great. I don’t know what the celebration is going to be, other than a day off. And then somehow put a double-digit win column up in January. We’ve got to go 10 games or more in January.”

There’s reason for Karl’s optimism, because 15 of the Nuggets’ next 18 games (12 of 15 in January) are at home, starting with Tuesday’s big matchup with the streaking Clippers on NBA TV (9 p.m. ET).

And home has been very good to the Nuggets. They’re 9-1 at the Pepsi Center, outscoring their opponents by 11.9 points per 100 possessions in the 10 games. That’s a difference of 13.8 points per 100 possessions from how they’ve done on the road (-1.9). And that’s the biggest home-away discrepancy in the league.

Biggest home-away discrepancy, point differential per 100 possessions

Team Home Rank Away Rank Diff.
Denver +11.9 5 -1.9 13 +13.80
Miami +12.8 4 -1.0 10 +13.76
Phoenix +2.1 19 -11.5 27 +13.6
Detroit +3.7 16 -8.8 25 +12.4
Boston +4.3 15 -7.3 23 +11.7

The difference between the home Nuggets and the away Nuggets has been on both ends of the floor. Their offense has been 7.5 points per 100 possessions better at home, and their defense has been 6.3 points per 100 possessions better.

Interestingly, even though the Nuggets shot a putrid 1-for-32 from outside the paint in Portland on Dec. 20, on neither end of the floor has shooting from the field been the biggest difference. Offensively, they’ve been better at taking care of the ball and getting to the free-throw line…

Nuggets’ offense, home vs. away

Location OffRtg Rank eFG% Rank OREB% Rank TmTOV% Rank FTA Rate Rank
Home 110.1 4 51.0% 10 34.2% 1 14.7% 10 .321 6
Away 102.6 9 49.8% 9 31.4% 3 16.7% 21 .284 9

OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
eFG% = (FGM + (0.5 * 3PM)) / FGA
OREB% = Percentage of available offensive rebounds obtained
TmTOV% = Turnovers per 100 possessions
FTA Rate = FTA / FGA

Defensively, it’s all about rebounding…

Nuggets’ defense, home vs. away

Location DefRtg Rank OppeFG% Rank DREB% Rank OppTmTOV% Rank OppFTA Rate Rank
Home 98.2 8 47.4% 12 75.1% 4 14.9% 22 .244 7
Away 104.5 15 48.5% 11 69.8% 27 14.2% 21 .265 10

DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
DREB% = Percentage of available defensive rebounds obtained

Turnovers and free-throw rate are understandable. But rebounding? How are you a great rebounding team at home and an awful rebounding team on the road?

The numbers point straight at Kenneth Faried, who’s either a good rebounder or a great rebounder, depending on where he’s playing. Faried has grabbed 27.6 percent of available defensive boards (which would rank him ninth in the league) when he’s been on the floor at the Pepsi Center, but only 20.8 percent (which would rank him 36th) in all other arenas.

So, on one hand, Nuggets fans can be encouraged. They’ve been great at home so far and have a tremendous opportunity to move up the Western Conference standings in the next five weeks.

On the other hand, you have to wonder why they can’t just rebound better on the road.


John Schuhmann is a staff writer for Send him an e-mail or follow him on twitter.


  1. BID says:

    I like the nuggets game but unfortunately they have a lot of players who actually do the same thing they really need someone who can take on the game in clutch time…this is a superstar league it’s always been and it’ll continue like that and dont come and tell me that the 04 pistons won the championship with no superstar (which by the way has 4 all stars that year) and regardless they did have billups on the clutch and of course its just one exepction on the rule coz most of championship teams have at least one superstar

  2. BJ says:

    Well the Nuggets showed up last night for sure. The Clippers just didnt have it last night. no energy, no defense, missed shot after missed shot, turnover after turnover. DJ was the only one that showed up to play last night.

    so that ends the winning streak, they have to get focused now to try and get past GSW and they are another tough team for them to beat. so lets see if the Clips can refocus and get back to winning and showtime again. they made history with their streak so that cannot be taken away from them. That was a great accomplishment. Back to work…..

  3. Chester says:

    i like the nuggets but not sold on ty lawson or iguadala at the guards. the team looked better with slow andre miller running the show

  4. BJ says:

    The Nuggets are a good team and they are hard to beat at home also. the Nuggets and the Jazz give the Clippers real problems. This should be a great game today, I look fowards to this match up again also.

  5. Jacques Durceille says:

    The nuggests have the potential to be a dark horse. They may cause an upset in the offseason but that is the extent of their abilities. They have no truly reliable offense or someone who can get it done night in and night out. They need a guy who can score 25 points per game every night if they will have a shot at anything in the west, while maintaining a good defense. For being out west and having no true reliable superstar they have done great for themselves. The west is cut-throat and that in itself is an accomplishment.

    I look forward to this clippers nuggets match-up.

    • xobhcnul says:

      You don’t need a 25-a-game superstar to win championships. Look at the San Antonio Spurs, they’ve been one of the best teams in the western conference for, I don’t know, 15 years or something, winning 4 championships in that span. They don’t have one guy who puts the team on his back game after game, they just have a team, and a coach, that knows how basketball should be played.

      • ab-ball says:

        Tim Duncan is the player who put the spurs on his back did you not see those championship runs?

      • CELTIC THUNDER says:

        dude thats exactly what tim duncan did do you think he got his two MVPS being anything but superstar 25 points a game etc

      • BJ says:

        I believe the Clippers are playing the same way. they don’t rely on one guy to carry the team. they have many weapons on offense and defense. No one showed up last night…well except DJ.

    • ab-ball says:

      you dont need 25 your with 20 a game as long as the player is an elite defender