KLEE: Nuggets storm through January — but don't buy just yet

By: Paul Klee
January 30, 2013
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DENVER — On the NBA stock market, it is wise to hold the Nuggets.

It is too soon to buy or sell — despite a bullish January that has elevated Denver's value in the Western Conference standings.

"We know what we're capable of," Danilo Gallinari said late Wednesday night.

On another winning night for the home team at Pepsi Center, the Nuggets finished off the Rockets and finished off January with a flurry.

Final score for Wednesday: Denver 118, Houston 110.

Final score for January: Denver 12, Opponents 3.

How’s that for a Happy New Year?

George Karl wanted 10 wins in the first month of 2013. The Nuggets coach got two (more) to grow on. That ties the franchise's second-most wins in a single month, one shy of the record.

"I told the guys I don't know how many months I've had in my career with more than 10 (wins)," Karl said. "It was a damn good month."

So why hold the Nuggets?

They are good enough it's OK to get greedy.

To be what they can be, a Western Conference threat to the mighty Thunder and Clippers and Spurs, the Nuggets must continue to Hold themselves accountable. We should, too.

January was seashells and sunshine and home games. But these Nuggets have too much potential to be defined by their work in January.

Their season is all about late April and May, the NBA playoffs.

And it doesn’t take a mathematician figure out the easiest way for the Nuggets to stick around for more than one round in the NBA playoffs.

Denver needs a top-four seed and home-court advantage in the first round. Already, we have a three-team race for the No. 4 seed: Memphis (29-15), Golden State (28-17) and Denver (29-18). Early February is not too early for the groundhog, or scoreboard watching.

Did you hear about the calendar maker who lost his job? He was fired for taking a day off.

The Nuggets took two days off in January — once in a loss to the timid Timberwolves and once in a loss to the woeful Wizards. To earn the No. 4 seed, that's two too many.

If the Nuggets achieve the fourth seed, it is hard to imagine them losing a first-round series. Denver is 19-3 in front of its home crowd this season. Since 2007-08, only the Spurs have more home wins (173) than Denver (172).

"We needed a special month and I think we got it," said Gallinari, who had a team-high 27 points.

But February can be a rough one. The groundhog is feisty and unpredictable, and men must have a plan on Valentine’s Day.

Further, Denver has only five home games, compared to the 12 in January.

The Nuggets must have a plan.

"We did our job, taking advantage of the schedule for this month," Andre Miller said.

When February is over, we will know whether to buy or sell the Nuggets.

Until then, greed is good.

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