1976/77: While the other three former ABA teams initially struggled with life in the NBA, the Nuggets struck gold right away winning their first eight games on the way to capturing the Midwest Division with a solid record of 50-32. Along the way the Nuggets would lead the NBA in attendance with 17,150 fans per game. However, in the playoffs the Nuggets would be stunned by the Portland Trailblazers in six games after having earned a first round bye.
1977/78: With David Thompson battling George Gervin to the final day for the league scoring title the Nuggets again capture the Midwestern Division title with a record of 48-34. On the final day of the season it appeared as if Thompson had won the scoring title by pouring out 73 points against the Detroit Pistons. However, Gervin would score 63 against the New Orleans Jazz to take the title by .07 points, the closest race ever. In the playoffs the Nuggets would survive a seven game war with Milwaukee Bucks to reach the Western Conference Finals. However, in the West Finals the Nuggets would fall to the Seattle Supersonics in 6 games.
1978/79: The Nuggets would stumble out of the gate losing six straight games early in the season and playing below .500 through December. However, as January started the Nuggets started playing the type of basketball they were used to an appeared to be set to make a run for the Division Title. However, on February 1st Coach Larry Brown suddenly resigned to take the coaching job with UCLA, it would mark a trademark over Brown’s career of sudden departures. Under his replacement Donnie Walsh the Nuggets would win seven straight games in March and would end up falling one game short of their third straight Midwest Title with a record of 47-35.In the playoffs the Nuggets would make a quick exit falling to the Los Angeles Lakers in a three game series.
1979/80: The Nuggets would once again stumble out of the gate losing their first seven games. However, with David Thompson being limited to 39 games with foot injuries the Nuggets would not be able to recover this time finishing in third place with a disappointing record of 30-52. As the season wound down the Nuggets would make a major trade sending George McGinnis to the Indiana Pacers for Alex English.
1980/81: The Nuggets would become one of the top scouring teams in the NBA scoring 121.8 ppg, as Doug Moe to over for Donnie Walsh as Coach in the middle of the season. However on defense the Nuggets left a lot to be desired allowing a league worse 122.3 ppg while finishing in fourth place with a record of 37-45 and missing the playoff for the second straight season.
1981/82: The Nuggets sent two draft picks to the Dallas Mavericks for the draft rights to UCLA standout Kiki Vandeweghe to add firepower to a team already loaded with Alex English, Dan Issel, and David Thompson. Vandeweghe, English and Issel would all average more then 20 ppg as the Nuggets set a NBA record with 126.5 ppg, while reaching 100 points in all 82 games. The Nuggets would go on to finish in second place with a record of 46-36 making the playoffs after a two year absence. However, in the playoffs the Nuggets would make a quick exit losing to the Phoenix Suns in a three game series.
1982/83: Alex English and Kiki Vandeweghe finishing first and second in scoring the Nuggets continued to fly scoring 100 points in all but four games as the Nuggets finished in second place with a record of 45-37. In the playoffs the Nuggets and Phoenix Suns would once again lock horns in a three game series. However, this time it would be the Nuggets who would advance with a 117-112 overtime victory. However, in the second round the Nuggets would be burnt by the San Antonio Spurs who averaged 132.8 ppg while beating the Nuggets in five games.
1983/84: The Nuggets continued to light up the scoreboard as they beat the Detroit Pistons on December 13th in triple overtime 186-184 in the highest scoring game in NBA history. The Nuggets would also put up their second highest point total scoring 163 points in a win over the San Antonio Spurs on January 11th. However, the Nuggets opponents would light up the scoreboard too as the team struggled to finish in third place with a record of 38-44. Fortunately for the Nuggets the playoffs were expanded from six to eight teams and the Nuggets got in to the postseason. However, it would be a quick exit as they were beaten by the Utah Jazz in a five game series.
1984/85: Prior to the season to improve the team’s defense the Nuggets traded Kiki Vandeweghe to the Portland Trailblazers for Wayne Cooper, Lafayette “Fat” Lever, Calvin Natt, and two draft picks. The deal paid immediate dividends for the Nuggets, as they got off to a solid 12-3 start, on the way to capturing the Midwest Division with a solid 52-30 record. In the playoffs the Nuggets would survive a five game shoot out with the San Antonio Spurs, before easily beating the Utah Jazz 4 games to 1 to reach the Western Conference Finals. However, in the Western Finals the Nuggets proved to be not ready for primetime as they were easily beaten by the Los Angels Lakers in five games. Following the season Dan Issel would announce his retirement after ten years in Denver.
1985/86: Despite the retirement of Dan Issel the Nuggets played solid basketball all season posting a winning record in every month except April to finish in second place with a solid 47-35 record. In the playoffs the Nuggets would easily knock off the Portland Trailblazer in four games. However, in the second round they would not be able to match up with Houston Rockets twin towers of Akeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson as they fell in six games.
1986/87: After a solid first month the Nuggets struggled all season playing below .500. The Nuggets would need to scramble just to capture the eighth and final playoff seed with a disappointing record of 37-45. In the playoffs the Nuggets would provide no challenge to the Los Angeles Lakers who swept them in three straight games.
1987/88: After a disappointing season the Nuggets rebounded to capture the Midwest Division Title with a solid record of 54-28, finishing one game ahead of the Dallas Mavericks thanks to a season ending ten game winning streak. In the playoffs the Nuggets momentum would slow, as they needed five games to get past the Seattle Supersonics. Their momentum would disappear completely as they are beaten by the high-powered Mavericks in six games.
1988/89: The Nuggets would reign supreme at home posting a 35-6 record at Mc Nichols Arena for the second straight season. However, on the road it would be a different story as the Nuggets won just nine for 41 games to post a 44-38 record on the season. The Nuggets would go into the playoffs on the wrong note losing their final five games. In the playoffs the slide would continue as the Nuggets were swept in three straight games, by the Phoenix Suns.
1989/90: The Nuggets began to show their age as they barely made the playoffs with a mediocre record of 43-39. In the playoffs the Nuggets would fall right away losing to the San Antonio Spurs in three straight games. Following the season an era would come to an end in Denver as Coach Doug Moe is fired after a decade long tenure in which he won a franchise record 432 games, while Alex English is not resigned and departs via free agency.
1990/91: New General Manager Bernie Bickerstaff decided it was time to rebuild the Nuggets who had the oldest team in the league, so the Nuggets would make radical changes trading off stars for draft picks. As always teams who rebuild often take their lumps and the Nuggets with new Coach Paul Westhead were not any different enduring a wretched season in which they finished with a league worse 20-62 record, along the way the Nuggets allowed 130.8 ppg setting a new record for NBA defensive generosity.
1991/92: To improve the Nuggets horrible defense the Nuggets selected Georgetown Center Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean Jacque Wamutombo, with the first overall pick. A native of Zaire, who spoke nine languages (English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and five African dialects), Mutombo had an immediate impact as the Nuggets showed improvement holding a 17-26 record through the first half of the season. However, Mutombo would hit the rookie wall as the Nuggets struggled in the second half winning just seven of their 39 games to post a record of 24-58.
1992/93: The Nuggets would bring back Dan Issel who had stared for them for ten seasons to lead the young team as their coach. Under Issel the Nuggets would show some promise despite 14-game losing streak from December 5th to January 5th. Around the losing streak the Nuggets show significant improvement missing the playoffs by just three games with a record of 36-46. Among the reason for optimism for the future was the continued growth of Dikembe Mutombo into one of the league’s best defensive players, and the continued improvement of Guard Chris Jackson, who was named the league’s Most Improved Player, shortly after changing his name to Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf.
1993/94: The Nuggets continued to improve posting a 42-40 record and making the playoffs for the first time in 4 years. However, no much was expected for the Nuggets as they entered the playoffs as the 8th seed, matching them up with Seattle Supersonics who had posted a league best 63-19 record. The Nuggets would find themselves in a quick 0-2 hole after dropping the first two games in Seattle. However, upon arriving in Denver the Nuggets used the shot blocking presence of Dikembe Mutombo, along with career performances by Reggie Williams, Brian Williams, and Robert Pack, to even the series with wins in Game 3 and Game 4. Going back to Seattle for the fifth a decisive game the Nuggets were expected to see their season end. However, managed to hang in the game and rallied to tie the game and force overtime, where they would emerge with a one point victory becoming the first 8th seeded team to beat a #1 seed. To punctuate the game Mutombo was on his back holding the ball and smiling after the buzzer. Moving n to the 2nd Round the Nuggets appeared to run out of gas as they dropped their first three games to the Utah Jazz. However facing elimination, the Nuggets would rally again winning the next three games to force a seventh game. However, this time the Nuggets were unable to overcome their deficit as they lost 91-81.
1994/95: Coming of their improbable playoff run the Nuggets were bitten early by the injury bug, losing LaPhonso Ellis for all but ten games due to a preseason knee injury. After playing mediocre basketball through the first 34 games Dan Issel suddenly resigned and was replaced by assistant Gene Littles. Under Littles the Nuggets struggled winning just three of their next 16 games before he was replaced by General Manager Bernie Bickerstaff. Under Bickerstaff the Nuggets would recover making a late push and sneaking into the playoff with a record of 41-41, as Dikembe Mutombo captured his first Defensive Player of the Year award. However, there would be no magical playoff run this time around as the Nuggets are beaten by the San Antonio Spurs in four games.
1995/96: Building on a nucleus of center Dikembe Mutombo and guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, the Nuggets acquired Antonio McDyess, who had been drafted with the second pick overall by the Los Angeles Clippers. McDyess would make a solid contribution as he was named to the All-Rookie team. However, the Nuggets who were still missing LaPhonso Ellis who missed all but 37 games got off to a horrible start losing eight of their first nine games and never recovered missing the playoffs with a disappointing record of 35-47. Along the way the Nuggets found themselves in the middle of an ugly controversy as Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf refused to stand for the National Anthem protesting what he felt was the country’s poor treatment of Muslims in the world. After a one game suspension Abdul-Rauf agreed to stand and pray during the anthem. However, the damage done his reputation could not be repaired, as he was the consistent target of boos, as fans rejected his extreme Religious views, before missing the rest of the season due to injury. Following the season the Nuggets would trade Abdul-Rauf to the Sacramento Kings. In addition the Nuggets would lose Dikembe Mutombo who signed a free agent deal with Atlanta Hawks; suddenly the Nuggets were forced to start the rebuilding process all over again.
1996/97: The Nuggets would get off to a slow start losing nine of their first 13 games as Bernie Bickerstaff was forced out as coach. Bickersstaff who briefly remained the club’s General Manager named Dick Motta as his replacement. Bickerstaff would be replaced as General Manager in the middle of the season by Allen Bristow as the Nuggets made sweeping changes throughout the season with 23 different players wearing Nuggets uniform. Despite all the instability the Nuggets found themselves in just about every game but falling short at then end losing 18 games by ten points of less including ten games lost by one or two points. However, in the end they would still post a record of 21-61, which landed them in fourth place.
1997/98: In a continued remaking of the Nuggets the team traded Antonio McDyess to the Phoenix Suns for three first-round draft picks in the next two years, while clearing salary cap room for the Nuggets to lure free agents. Without McDyess and under New Coach Bill Hanzlik the Nuggets hit rock bottom posting a wretched record of 11-71, which just narrowly avoided being the worst record of all time by a mere two games. Along the way the Nuggets would fire General Manager Allan Bristow and replace him with Dan Issel who fired Coach Bill Hanzlik following the season to complete the house cleaning. With the extra salary cap room the Nuggets had, Issel would bring back Antonio McDyess singing him to a free agent deal.
1998/99: Despite the return of Antonio McDyess the Nuggets continued to struggle under new Coach Mike D’Antonio, finishing with a 14-36 record while finishing in 6th place in a season cut in half by a lockout. Following the season D’Antonio would be let go as Dan Issel added Coach to his responsibilities.
1999/00: With Dan Issel back on the bench the Nuggets began play at the brand new state of the art Pepsi Center, which was replacing McNichols Arena which some considered the worst arena in the league. With the acquisition of Ron Mercer the Nuggets had a solid nucleus of Raef LaFrentz, Antonio McDyess and Nick Van Exel, wining 12 of their first 15 games on the road. However, the Nuggets would struggle on the road and hovered around .500 for most of the first half. Fearing they would lose Mercer to free agency the Nuggets would trade him, to the Orlando Magic with Chauncey Billups and Johnny Taylor in exchange for Tariq Abdul-Wahad, Chris Gatling and a future first round pick. The Nuggets would win their first game after the trade to improve to 21-22. However, with a back loaded road scheduled the Nuggets would struggle in the second half finishing in fifth place with a record of 35-47.
2000/01: Antonio McDyess finally realized his potential averaging 20.8 ppg and 12.1 rebounds while making it to his first All-Star Game. Through January the Nuggets were a playoff contender posting a record of 26-18. However the Nuggets faded in February and March winning just nine of 28 games as they missed the playoff for the sixth straight year with a record of 40-42.
2001/02: After finishing just two games below .500 the Nuggets would suffer another disastrous setback as Antonio McDyess suffered a pre season knee injury, which limited him to just 10 games. Things would only get worse as Tariq Abdul-Wahad suffered an injury and Nick Van Exel demanded a trade. Things would only get worse as Coach Dan Issel got into hot water after yelling a racial slur at a Mexican fan. Issel one of the top players in Nuggets history would be forced to resign in embarrassment to bring an end to the escalating controversy. Under his replacement Mike Evans the Nuggets stumbled along until a blockbuster trade sent Nick Van Exel, Raef LaFrentz, Tariq Abdul-Wahad and Avery Johnson to the Dallas Mavericks for Juwan Howard, Tim Hardaway, Donnell Harvey and a first round draft pick. Howard would lead the Nuggets in scoring down the stretch as the Nuggets finished in 6th place with a record of 27-55.
2002/03: Prior to the start of the season the Nuggets would have another front office shake up naming Kiki Vandeweghe. Kiki would begin by rebuilding the Nuggets all over again trading Antonio McDyess to the New York Knicks for Marcus Camby and Nené Hilario. After a long and somewhat embarrassing search the Nuggets would enter the season with a new coach in Jeff Bzdelik. However, with Juwan Howard, and Brazilian rookie Nené as the lone Nuggets to average more then 10 ppg the Nuggets suffered through another terrible season posting a 17-65 record, which was tied with the Cleveland Cavaliers with the worst record in the NBA. Following the season the Nuggets would continue to retool by letting Juwan Howard leave via free agency, while signing free agent guard Andre Miller from the Los Angels Clippers. However, it was through the draft that the Nuggets got who they believe will be the player of the future as they selected Forward Carmello Anthony who as a freshman has just led Syracuse to National Championship.
2003/04: Coming off a wretched 17-65 season the only place for the Nuggets to go was up, one player who was key to their success was Rookie Carmello Anthony who showed veteran poise right away as the Nuggets got off to a solid start posting a 10-6 record through November which included a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers as Anthony battled fellow super rookie LeBron James. The Nuggets continued to play well in December as they surpassed their previous season’s win total and found themselves in the thick of the playoff picture. The Nuggets would continue to be in the playoff race all season despite posting losing records in February and March as Anthony hit the rookie wall. However by finishing the season with 5 wins in their last 7 games the Nuggets were able to grab the lost playoff spot in the West with a 43-39 record. Despite 21 points and 6 rebounds per game Carmello Anthony would finish second to LeBron James in Rookie of the Year voting. However Anthony got the Nuggets into the postseason, where they faced the Minnesota Timberwolves. Despite strong games from Carmello the Nuggets dropped the first two games on the road. Hosting their first playoff game in nine years the Nuggets bounced back to win Game 3 101-86. With a chance to even the series in Game 4 the Nuggets had a potential game tying by Voshon Lenard miss at the buzzer in a heartbreaking 84-82 loss, as they went on to fall to the Wolves in five games.
2004/05: Coming off their first playoff appearance in nine years the Nuggets got off to a shaky start as Carmello Anthony struggled early. Sitting at 13-15 on December 27th the Nuggets would fire Coach Jeff Bzdelik. Under interim Coach Michael Cooper they would not fair much better as they won just four of their next 14 games, before the Nuggets decided to hire George Karl a Coach with a proven track record that included a Western Conference Championship with the Seattle Supersonics in 1996. The hiring of Karl had an immediate effect as the Nuggets picked up their play right away winning five of their next six games. The Nuggets would continue their strong play down the stretch winning 25 of their last 29 games to make the playoffs with a 49-33 record. In the playoffs the Nuggets became a team nobody wanted to face and they showed why right away beating the San Antonio Spurs on the road 93-87 in Game 1. However, the Spurs would rebound to take the next four games to win the series on the way to a NBA Championship the Nuggets gave them all they could handle as Game 4 went to overtime before the Spurs pulled away for a 126-115 win.
2005/06: After their strong finish there was an air of optimism for the Nuggets entering the season, as Coach George Karl entered his first full season. However, early in the Nuggets first game disaster struck as Nene the teams budding young star rebounder suffered a season ending knee injury playing just two minutes. Without Nene the Nuggets were vulnerable to bigger physical teams. However, against teams that like to run up and down the court with a small line up played right into the Nuggets hands. Playing in the Northwest Division was also helpful for the Nuggets as they were below .500 but in first place as the New Year began. Led by Carmelo Anthony who had a team high 26.5 ppg the Nuggets would eventual go over .500, as they captured their first division title in nearly two decades with a 44-38, as they were the only team in their division to make the playoffs. In the playoffs the Nuggets were a team that became targets of scorn as they had the third seed despite having the same record as the eighth seeded Sacramento Kings, this would lead to changes in the playoff seeding as the division champs was no longer guaranteed the top three spots. Playing the Los Angeles Clippers and not having home court as home court was decided on team record and not playoff seeding the Nuggets were exposed as they were beaten convincingly in five games.
2006/07: The Nuggets looking to improve acquired J.R. Smith and Joe Smith in the off-season, as they continued to play decent but not dominating basketball. Meanwhile Carmelo Anthony continued to bud into a star as he led the NBA in scoring through 22 games, when he found himself in the middle of controversy as the Nuggets had an ugly brawl with the New York Knicks in the waning seconds of a blow out win on the road. The fight which started after the Knicks Mardy Collins committed a hard foul on J.R. Smith, evolved into the talk of the league when Melo landed a sucker punch on Collins and ran away, causing the brawl which was nearly extinguished to flare up again. The fight would lead to heavy criticism for Carmelo Anthony and a 15-game suspension. Just a few days after the fight fearing the loss of Anthony would hurt their playoff chances the Nuggets pulled the trigger on a blockbuster deal landing Allen Iverson from the Philadelphia 76ers for Joe Smith, Andre Miller, and two first-round draft picks. Despite the arrival of Iverson, the Nuggets struggled at the end of December as they adjusted to the new line up. Even with the return of Anthony from his suspension the Nuggets continued to play mediocre basketball as they were below .500 at the end of March, at 35-36. Needing a strong finish to just make the playoffs the Nuggets played their best basketball in April, winning eight in a row as they closed the season with wins in 10 of their last 11 games as they ended the season with a record of 45-37 which was good enough to make the playoffs. Facing the San Antonio Spurs in the first round the Nuggets stayed hot taking Game 1 on the road 95-89 as Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony combined for 61 points. After losing Game 2 the series shifted to Denver, where the Nuggets hoped the home court edge could give them back the lead in the series. However, the championship mettle of the Spurs would get in the way as the thrr point shooting of Robert Horry and Michael Finley lifted the Spurs to a 96-91 win. In Game 4 it was Horry again as the Spurs won 96-89, to send the Nuggets to the brink. Unfortunately for the Nuggets there would be no return form the brink and no return to Denver as the season ended with a 93-78 Game 5 loss in San Antonio.
2007/08: In Allen Iverson’s first full season in Denver, the Nuggets began the season with high expectations. However, from the early going the mix did not seem right, though the Nuggets talent alone was able to keep them in playoff contention. This was largely due to the high scoring efforts of Iverson, and Carmelo Anthony who each averaged more then 25 ppg. A tally that no doubt, that was inflated, when the Nuggets beat the Seattle Supersonics 168-116, the third highest regulation point total in NBA history. However, something seemed off all season as the Nuggets despite a solid 50-32 record entered the playoffs as the eighth seed, with the feeling they had no chance of going very far. Those feelings would be true, as the Nuggets weaknesses were exposed as they took on the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs. The series was a sweep and none of the games were really close as the Lakers dominated the Nuggets on both ends of the court. Following the season in a move to get more salary cap flexibility the Nuggets would trade Marcus Camby to the Los Angeles Clippers.
2008/09: The Nuggets continued to make changes as the season started trading Allen Iverson on November 3rd to the Detroit Pistons for Chauncey Billups, Antonio McDyess, and Cheikh Samb. While McDyess was waived just a week later, Billups was the focus of the deal, bringing back to the Nuggets, a Denver native who was not quite ready for the NBA. The player returning to Denver was now a NBA All-Star who was a proven post-season performer with a NBA Finals MVP. The deal to land Chauncey Billups would be just the jump start the Nuggets needed, as he fit into Coach George Karl’s system like a glove, as Carmelo Anthony led the way with 22.8 ppg, while Billups had 6.4 assists per game, as the Nuggets climbed to the top of the Northwest Division. The Nuggets would go to post a 54-28 record equaling their best record since joining the NBA, as General Manager Mark Warkentien won the NBA Executive of the Year Award . In the playoffs the Nuggets faced the New Orleans Hornets in the first round, and got off to a quick start winning the first two games at home, with Chauncey Billups topping 30 points in each game. After dropping Game 3, the Nuggets took the hammer to New Orleans, with a 121-63 win in Game 4 that gave them a 3-1 series lead. The score was the most lob-sided game in NBA playoff history. The Nuggets would go on to win the series in five games, closing out the Hornets with a 107-86 win in Game 5. In the second round the Nuggets faced the Dallas Mavericks and again got off to a good start, winning the first two games at home. As the series shifted to Dallas, the Nuggets turned to Carmelo Anthony to take a 3-0 lead, as the Nuggets star nailed a three point shot with under five seconds left to deliver a dramatic 106-105 win. After dropping Game 4 by two points, the Nuggets closed the series with an 1124-110 victory to reach the Western Conference for the first time since 1985. In the Conference Finals the Nuggets faced the heavily favored Los Angeles Lakers, and earned the all important split of the first two games in Los Angeles, with a 106-103 win in Game 2. However, they would suffer a disappointing 103-97 loss in Game 3 at the Pepsi Center. The Nuggets would win Game 4 to even the series, but the Lakers would prove to be too strong as they eliminated the Nuggets in six games on the way to winning the NBA Championship.
2009/10: After reaching the Western Conference Finals the Nuggets looked to take the next step as they acquired Aaron Afflalo in a draft day trade with the Detroit Pistons. When the season began the Nuggets started off strong winning their first five games. The Nuggets continued to play well into December, as Carmelo Anthony was among the league leaders in scoring, highlighted by a 50 point performance against the New York Knicks on November 27th. Over the Holidays the Nuggets stumbled, losing five of six games. However, they still had a solid 20-12 record as January began. The New Year brought good things for the Nuggets as they posted a 12-3 record, which helped get Coach George Karl the chance to Coach the Western Conference All Stars in the All Star Game in Dallas. As the break arrived, the Nuggets were the second seed the West with a record of 35-18. However, shortly after the break they would get some bad news as George Karl was diagnosed with cancer in his neck and throat. Though the cancer was treatable the Nuggets would spend much of the second half without their coach. With Adrian Dantley taking over for Karl the Nuggets struggled down the stretch and slipped into the fourth spot in the West. However, they would win their second straight division title with a record of 53-29. In the playoffs the Nuggets faced the Utah Jazz and got off to a good start as Carmelo Anthony scored 42 points in a 126-113 win in Game 1 at the Pepsi Center. However, the Jazz would bounce back to take the next three games. Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith put up a strong effort in Game 5, as the Nuggets avoided elimination with a 116-102 win. It would not be enough as the Jazz won the series in six games with a 112-104 win in Game 6.
2010/11: As the season began the Nuggets had a big headache, as Carmelo Anthony a free agent at the end of the season, demanded to be traded to the New York Knicks. The Nuggets had a deal in place to send him to the New Jersey Nets, but Anthony let it be known he would only accept a deal to the Knicks, stating he would not discuss a contract extension. This put the Nuggets in a pickle, as they did not want to end up like the Cleveland Cavaliers, who got nothing in return, when LeBron James signed with the Miami Heat in the off-season. Despite the tension surrounding Melo’s trade demands, the Nuggets started the season with a 110-88 win over the Utah Jazz at the Pepsi Center. Carmelo Anthony often was the Nuggets leading scorer on nightly basis as the Nuggets entered the New Year with a record of 18-13. On December 10th, George Karl, who was winning his battle with cancer, became the seventh coach in NBA history to win 1,000 games as the Nuggets beat the Toronto Raptors 123-116. The Nuggets continued to play solid basketball up until the All-Star Break, as they held a 32-25 record. However, it was clear the time was up for the Nuggets when it came to Carmelo Anthony, whose wish would be granted as he was sent to the New York Knicks on February 21st as part of a three team deal involving the Minnesota Timberwolves. The blockbuster trade also sent Chauncey Billups, Anthony Carter, Renaldo Balkman, Shelden Williams and Corey Brewer to the Knicks. As the Nuggets received Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov, Kosta Koufos, and three draft picks in return, while Eddy Curry, Anthony Randolph and a draft pick from the Nuggets went to the Wolves. After the trade, Nuggets Coach George Karl said, “I’m glad it’s over. I’m glad it’s an opportunity to reinvent”. Reinvent, the Nuggets would as they played their best basketball after the deal, posting a 10-3 record in March as they went on to finish the season with a solid record of 50-32. In the playoffs the Nuggets, with the fifth seed would face the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Nuggets would hang tough in Game 1, despite allowing 72 points to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined, losing on Kendrick Perkins tip in with 1:06 left in the game. The Nuggets had thought Perkins had committed basket interference. After suffering a 106-89 loss in Game 2, the series shifted to Denver, where the Nuggets lost another heartbreaker 97-94 on Russell Westbrook’s bucket with ten seconds left in the game. The Nuggets would hold off the sweep with a 104-101 win in Game 4, as Ty Lawson scored a career high 27 points. However, the Nuggets lost a nine point lead in the final four minutes as Kevin Durant scored 41 points to lead the Thunder to a 100-97 win in Game 5.
2011/12: During the offseason, the Nuggets continued to remake their roster as the dust continued to settle after the Carmelo Anthony trade. The Nuggets would say good bye to Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith, both of whom signed to play in China during the lockout. They would also say good bye to Raymond Felton as they reacquired Andre Miller from the Portland Trailblazers. In addition, the Nuggets would pick up Rudy Fernandez and Corey Brewer. When the season got started, they day after Christmas the Nuggets got off to a surprising fast start, as they won 14 of their first 19 games. Two players who broke out early and helped the Nuggets get off to their strong start were Ty Lawson, who led the team in scoring with 16.4 ppg, while Danilo Gallinari acquired in the Melo deal was averaging 14.6 before getting hurt. Injuries were part of the story of the lockout shortened season, as Rudy Fernandez played in just 31 games, as the Nuggets suffered through a 5-10 record during February. At 24-20, the Nuggets were once again active at the trade deadline, sending Nene Hilario and Brian Cook along with a draft pick to the Washington Wizards for JaVale McGee and Ronny Turiaf. While Turiaf never played a game for the Nuggets, McGee became one of their best players down the stretch, averaging 10.3 ppg while providing excellent defense on the boards. Another player helping to drive the Nuggets towards the playoffs was first round draft pick Kenneth Faried out of Morehead State. Faried averaged 10.2 ppg and led the Nuggets in rebounds with 7.7 boards per game.
2012 Playoffs: In the playoffs the Nuggets again had a tough first round draw against the Los Angeles Lakers. After losing the first two games on the road, the Nuggets looked to make the series competitive at the Pepsi Center in Game 3. The Nuggets would get an outstanding effort as Ty Lawson scored 25 points to lead Denver to a 99-84 win. However, after losing 92-88 in Game 4 the Nuggets appeared to be heading for a quick exit down 3-1 and facing elimination in Game 5 at the Staples Center, as Lakers Center Andrew Bynum said, “Close out games are easy.” The Nuggets would prove Bynum wrong responding with a 102-99 win, despite a 43 point game from Kobe Bryant, as Andre Miller led a strong team effort with 24 points. The Nuggets would also win Game 6 at home, 113-96 as Ty Lawson had a game high 32 points. However, the Lakers got a boost from the return of Metta World Peace, and would win the series in seven games 96-87, as the Nuggets could not overcome 19 turnovers and poor shooting in the fourth quarter.
2012/13: After being bounced by the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs, the Nuggets were in a four team deal that helped the Lakers land All-Star Center Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic. The deal also involved the Philadelphia 76ers, who sent the Nuggets Andre Iguodala, while Denver sent Arron Afflalo and Al Harrington to the Magic. The Nuggets would start the season with a three game Eastern road swing, losing all three before coming home to beat the Detroit Pistons 109-97 in their home opener. The Nuggets would spend most of the first month on the road, as they threaded water at .500. The Nuggets continued to play more games away from home in December, but thanks to winning nine of their first ten games at the Pepsi Center they entered the New Year above .500 at 17-15. In January the Nuggets began playing more games at home, and won 11 of 14 games to climb up the Western Conference playoff race and make a run at the Oklahoma City Thunder’s division lead. The Nuggets would be dominant at home in the second half, as they won their last 23 games. The Nuggets home court advantage would see them post a league best 38-3 record at the Pepsi Center. The Nuggets would even enjoy a 14 game winning streak as they battled for the top spot in the West. The Nuggets would finish the season strong winning seven of their last eight games as they posted a record of 57-25 to take the third seed in the West, just finishing three games behind the Thunder. However, late in the season the Nuggets suffered a blow, when Danilo Gallinari suffered a season ending knee injury. It had been a breakout season for Gallinari as he had a career high 16.2 points per game and 5.2 rebounds per game. Only Ty Lawson had more points per game on the Nuggets with 16.7, while also leading the team with 6.9 assists per game. Another Nugget having a breakout season was Kenneth Farried who had 11.5 ppg and team high 9.2 rebounds per game. Due to the Nuggets strong season Masai Ujiri was named Exceutive of the Year, while George Karl was named Coach of the Year.
2013 Playoffs: With the third seed the Nuggets would face the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. The Nuggets would struggle in the opener despite playing on their home floor, needing a last second shot by Andre Miller to win the game 97-95. However, in Game 2 the Nuggets home winning streak would come to an end as the Warriors started the game with 61% shooting from the field and evened the series with a 131-117. Despite a 35 point game from Ty Lawson in Game 3 the Nuggets would fall again 110-108 as the series shifted to Oakland. The Warriors continued to outshoot the Nuggets in Game 4, winning 115-101 to take a 3-1 series lead. Back at the Pepsi Center, the Nuggets got a big game from Andre Iguodala who scored 25 points with 12 boards as the Nuggets won 107-100 in Game 5. However, despite another solid game from Iguodala the Nuggets season would end with a 92-88 loss in Game 6. Following the disappointing first round exit the Nuggets would dismiss Coach of the Year George Karl, who led them to the playoffs in all nine seasons in Denver. They would also lose Executive of the Year Masai Ujiri who left to become the General Manager of the Toronto Raptors. Tim Connolly would become the Nuggets new GM, while Brian Shaw took over for George Karl on the bench.
2013/14: It would be a tough off-season for the Nuggets as Andre Iguodala ended up going to the Golden State Warriors as part of a sign and trade deal. The trade which also involved the Utah Jazz saw the Nuggets get Randy Foye and a draft pick in return. Former Coach George Karl later cracked that Iguodala was already playing for Golden State during the playoffs. Another big loss was Danilo Gallinari who missed the entire season recovering from a knee injury. The Nuggets would begin the season under new Coach Brian Shaw with a 90-88 loss to the Sacramento Kings on the road. The Nuggets would also drop their first two games at home, but managed to finish November with a winning record at 9-6 as they were in the middle of a seven game winning streak. However, it would be cancelled out by an eight game skid as 2013 became 2014. The Nuggets would hover around .500 throughout January, but after losing 9-of-12 games in February saw their playoff hopes fade away. The Nuggets would finish the season with a record of 36-46 missing the playoffs for the first time since 2003.
2014/15: After missing the playoffs the Denver Nuggets hoped to rebound as Danilo Galinari returned after missing the entire season with a knee injury. Despite starting the season with an 89-79 win over the Detroit Pistons, the Nuggets got off to a terrible start, losing their next six games. The Nuggets would rebound and finish November strong, getting back to .500 at 8-8. The Nuggets would struggle again in December, and went into the New Year with a record of 13-19. After suffering 106-101 loss to the Chicago Bulls on New Year’s Day the Nuggets again looked to climb back to .500, winning five straight before the bottom dropped out. Between January 16th and March 1st, the Nuggets won just twice in 21 games. Looking to make in season improvements, the Nuggets were quite active in the last six weeks before the trade deadline. Denver would acquire a pair of draft picks for Timofey Mozgov, sending him to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Nuggets landed Jameer Nelson from the Boston Celtics for Nate Robinson. In a deal with the Portland Trail Blazers, the Nuggets would get Will Barton, Victor Claver and Thomas Robinson along with a draft pick in exchange for Arron Afflalo and Alonzo Gee, while JaVale McGee was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers with Chukwudiebere Maduabum and a draft picked acquired earlier for Mozgov for Cenk Akyol. The Nuggets would also make a change on the bench, firing Brian Shaw on March 3rd. Melvin Hunt would finish the season as interim coach, as the Nuggets again failed to make the postseason posting a record of 30-52. The lone bright spot was the play of Ty Lawson, who led the team in scoring with 15.2 points 9.6 assists per game.
2015/16: The Denver Nuggets played well early in the season, holding a 6-5 record early in the season highlighted by a pair of wins over the Houston Rockets. However, the Nuggets would not see .500 again after losing eight straight games as November turned into December. The Nuggets would go on another extended losing streak at the end of December, losing six straight as they entered 2016 with a record of 12-21. Winning would be sporadic most of the season for Denver, as they again were a non-factor in the playoff chase. March would be solid month for the Nuggets as they posted a winning month for the only time in the season at 9-8 sparked by a strong start where they won five of six, including four straight. Danilo Gallinari was Denver’s leading scorer with 19.5 points per game, while Emmanuel Mudiay had a solid rookie season with 12.8 points per game after being selected seventh overall in the NBA Draft.
2016/17: The Denver Nuggets were in a transitional year, as they took major steps forward into becoming a playoff contender. A big part of the Nuggets improvements was the play of second-year center Nikola Jokic who averaged 16.7 points and 9.8 rebound per game. The Nuggets improvements were slow to take hold, as they went into the New Year holding a record of 14-19. At the trade deadline, the Nuggets made a big move sending Jusuf Nurkic to the Portland Trail Blazers for Mason Plumlee. Spending all season on the fringe of the playoff race, the Nuggets made a late push, that would fall just one game short of the eight spot at 40-42 as Danilo Gallinari was Denver’s leading scorer at 18.2 ppg.
2017-18: After narrowly missing the playoffs, the Denver Nuggets looked to improve by signing Paul Millsap to a three-year contract worth $90 million. The Nuggets looked well early in the season but lost Millsap for three months after a wrist injury in November. When Millsap went down on November 21st, Denver had a record of 10-7. While they struggled over the next two months, the Nuggets made a run in February as Nikola Jokic developed into an NBA star. Jokic was Denver’s lead scorer with 18.5 points per game. He also led the team with 10.7 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game. Gary Harris also had a breakout season with 17.5 ppg. Paul Millsap returned as February came to an end, as he scored 14.6 ppg. The Nuggets found themselves in a wild Western Conference scramble for the playoffs as three games separated the third seed in the West to ninth place and out of the playoffs, a scramble that involved every team in the Northwest Division. The Nuggets found themselves as that one odd team out as they lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves 112-106 in the final game of the season, missing the postseason by one game as they finished with a record of 46-36.
2018/19: After narrowly missing the playoffs, the Denver Nuggets looked to take no chances as they came out of the gates like gangbusters. Winning nine of their first ten games. Nikola Jokic was responsible for the Nuggets’ hot start as he played at an MVP level after signing a five-year extension in the off-season. Jokic again led the Nuggets in points with 20.1 per, rebounds with 10.8 per game and 7.3 assists per game as he made his first All-Star appearance. The Nuggets were especially strong at home, as they posted a record of 34-7 at Pepsi Center. After ending December with a record of 23-11, the Nuggets continued their winning ways in January, as they won 12 games and were battling for the top spot in the Western Conference. One of the players driving Denver to their first playoff appearance in six years was Jamal Murray, who averaged 18.2 ppg. Paul Millsap meanwhile provided veteran leadership with 12.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. The Nuggets would fall short in their quest to land the top record in the Western Conference, but finished second overall, winning their first division title since 2010 with a record of 54-28, which matched 1988 and 2009 as their best season since joining the NBA.
2019 Playoffs: Makin their first playoff appearance in six years, the Denver Nuggets had a big test in the first round, as they faced the playoff-tested San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs stole the first game in Denver, winning 101-96 despite a triple-double by Nikola Jokic in his postseason debut. In Game 2, Jamal Murray scored 24 points, as Denver evened the series with a 114-105 win. In San Antonio, the Spurs took Game 3 by a score of 118-108. The Nuggets again battled back in Game 4, winning 117-103 as Jokic scored 29 points with 12 rebounds and eight assists. The Nuggets took control of the series with a 108-90 win in Game 5. The Spurs would push the series to seven games, as they recorded a 120-103 win in Game 6, despite Nikola Jokic scoring 43 points with 12 boards. With 21 points, 15 rebounds, and ten assists, Nikola Jokic had his second triple-double of the series as the Nuggets won 90-86 to advance to the second round, where they would face the Portland Trail Blazers. Jokic had a big performance in Game 1, scoring 37 points as the Nuggets beat the Blazers 121-113. Portland clawed back with a 97-90 win in Game 2, setting the stage for an epic battle in Game 3, which would go to quadruple overtime, equaling the longest postseason game in NBA history. The Nuggets would fall short in their epic battle, losing 140-137. With Jamal Murray scoring 34 points in Game 4, the Nuggets were able to bounce back to even the series with a 116-112 win. In Game 5, Jokic had a big night with 25 points, and 19 rebounds as Denver slammed the Trail Blazers 124-98. Once again, the Nuggets failed to close the series in six games, as the Blazers had a 119-108 win in Game 6. Coming home for Game 7, the Nuggets season would come to an end, as they suffered a 100-96 loss.
©MMXX Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the National Basketball Association. This site is not affiliated with the Denver Nuggets of the NBA. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on March 5, 2003. Last updated on April 8, 2020, at 11:40 am ET.