After short stay at home, Nuggets head back out on the road
Denver's longest trip of the season begins Wednesday night in Atlanta
Well, it was fun while it lasted.
After their fourth one-game “homestand” of the season, the Denver Nuggets practiced Tuesday before flying to Atlanta to open a five-game road trip Wednesday against the Hawks.
The trip, Denver’s longest of the season, will also include stops in Indiana, New York, Detroit and Minnesota. The Nuggets already have played 12 road games, while Atlanta has played 14 games total.
“Fun. Excited. Can’t wait,” Denver coach George Karl said. “This is the first trip I feel we’re ready to go, we’re ready to play. I just think we’re going to get over the hump. Our guys have a good frame of mind.”
The Nuggets (9-9) are 4-8 on the road but have played well enough to be at least .500 away from Pepsi Center. They have held fourth-quarter leads in two of their past three road losses.
Asked about the key to winning on the road, Denver forward Danilo Gallinari said it’s all about defense.
“When we focus on our defense, the offense is great, the rhythm of the game is great,” he said. “We are able to run and play our game.”
The statistics support Gallinari’s theory. Denver is 1-7 when surrendering 100 points or more on the road, and the record is identical when allowing the opposition to shoot at least .450 from the field.
The Toronto Raptor scored 110 points and shot .488 against Denver on Monday night, but the Nuggets managed to escape with a victory at Pepsi Center.
The margin for error will be much smaller on the road, particularly against an Atlanta (9-5) team that has enjoyed four days of rest since having its six-game winning streak snapped last Friday.
“Honestly, approach it like any other game,” Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried said. “It’s another day in the office. We as a team have to come together because we’re not going to have the home crowd energy to back us up. We have to have a no-quit attitude no matter what the scoreboard says. We have to stay focused and lock in.”
Faried posted his ninth double-double of the season Monday night and is averaging 13.2 points and 10.5 rebounds. He also is shooting .561 from the field, the sixth-best mark in the NBA entering play Tuesday.
Gallinari also has been hot of late, scoring at least 19 point in five of the past eight games.
NUGGETS AT HAWKS
WHEN: 6 p.m. MT
WHERE: Philips Arena, Atlanta
TV; RADIO: Altitude, ESPN; 104.3 FM, AM-950
F DeShawn Stevenson
F Josh Smith
C Al Horford
G Devin Harris
G Jeff Teague
DENVER: Wilson Chandler (hip) and Julyan Stone (hip) are out.
ATLANTA: None to report.
Overall this series has been very close since 2003-04, with Denver going 10-7 … The Nuggets have lost three of their last four games at Atlanta, and are only 3-18 on the road against the Hawks since the 1989-90 season (lost 14-straight from 1989-2004) … The Nuggets have won seven of the last eight games in Denver against the Hawks … Before Denver swept the season series in both 2011-12 (1-0) and 2010-11 (2-0), the teams had split 1-1 in each of the five previous seasons … The Nuggets second to last win in Atlanta (100-87 on 12/12/06) marked the widest margin of victory for Denver in Atlanta since the 1982-83 season (126-112 on 2/3/83) … Only one Hawk has ever topped 40+ against the Nuggets – that being John Drew with 50 on 12/30/78 in Atlanta … Only once since joining the NBA have the Nuggets failed to record a steal in a game, and that was at Atlanta on 10/21/78.