The Denver Nuggets first existed in the American Basketball Association, as the Denver Rockets. The ABA went under in 1976, and Denver was one of the four teams assimilated into the NBA. The Denver team name was changed to the Nuggets because Houston already had the Rockets.
The team now plays its home games at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colo. Their head coach is George Karl.
Early NBA Years
The Denver Nuggets had a successful beginning in the NBA, finishing with a regular season record of 50-32 and making the playoffs. They lost to the Portland Trail Blazers in six games, but they had quickly established themselves as a team to reckon with.
The 1977-78 season saw 48 regular season wins and another trip to the playoffs. This time they got all the way to the conference finals before bowing to the Seattle Supersonics, four games to two.
The Nuggets made the playoffs again in 1978-79, only to fall to the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round. The Nuggets failed to make the playoffs the following two seasons, but made it back in 1981-82, losing to the Phoenix Suns in the first round.
More playoff appearances
The Nuggets were a perennial playoff team in the 1980s, but rarely got past the second round. In 1984-85 they got past the Utah Jazz in the second round, only to run into the Lakers in the Conference Finals. The Lakers beat the Nuggets in five games.
The Nuggets played a part in playoff history in the 1993-94 season. As the 8th seed, they drew the Seattle Supersonics in the first round of the playoffs. The Sonics were heavily favored, with some “experts” predicting a sweep. When Seattle won the first two games in the five-game series, it looked like the “experts” might be right. But the Nuggets, led by a young Dikembe Mutombo and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (formerly Chris Jackson), tied the series at two apiece by winning both home games. That set up a finale in Seattle.
The Nuggets were on a mission, and they won the final game in overtime, 98-94, beating the Sonics three games to two. It was the first time in league history that an 8th seeded team defeated a number one seed.
Denver went seven games with the Utah Jazz in the following round, losing 4-3.
The Nuggets won 50 games in 2007-08, guided by smooth-shooting small forward Carmelo Anthony (drafted out of Syracuse in 2003) and high-scoring Allen Iverson (acquired via trade in 2006). The 8th-seeded Nuggets took on the eventual Western Conference champion L.A. Lakers, who swept the Nuggets in four games.
The Denver Nuggets find themselves looking up at the higher-tier teams in the West (Lakers, Spurs, Hornets, Suns, Mavericks). However, Anthony and Iverson are such great scorers that they are rarely out of games. If they can acquire a reliable third scoring option (preferably a big man), the Nuggets could open some eyes in the West this season.
Mahmoud Abdul Rauf (Chris Jackson), Michael Adams, Carmelo Anthony, Alex English, Allen Iverson, Lafayette “Fat” Lever, Dikembe Mutombo, David Thompson, Kiki Vandeweghe
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