Since the much ballyhooed blockbuster trade of Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups from the Denver Nuggets to the New York Knicks, the two teams have gone in contrasting directions. The Knicks are 7-7 in a way that suggests motivation is a bigger problem than talent. They have lost twice to mediocre teams like the Indiana Pacers and the Cleveland Cavaliers, but they have beaten formidable ones like the Miami Heat, New Orleans Hornets and Memphis Grizzlies.
While a typical heavy dose of Gotham scrutiny has been devoted to the Knicks ups and downs, the Nuggets very quietly are thriving in their post superstar era; going into tonight’s game against the Heat, they are 9-3. The offense has not lost a beat and it’s much more democratic. The defense has improved markedly. Justin Kubatko of basketball-reference.com explains here on the NYTimes Off The Dribble blog, http://offthedribble.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/17/keeping-score-why-the-nuggets-are-winning/