Published January 13, 2015
The Denver Nuggets will take their much less glamorized 15- game winning streak on the road Monday night when they visit the New Orleans Hornets.
The Nuggets tied their franchise record with a 15th consecutive victory Saturday at home against the Sacramento Kings. Denver had not won 15 straight since 1969-70, when the team was in the American Basketball Association as the Denver Rockets.
"I'm part of Nuggets history, and that is great," said forward Danilo Gallinari. "We did something special for this franchise, and everyone will remember this team for what we did."
The Miami Heat are garnering all of the attention with a 26-game winning streak, the second-longest in the history of the NBA.
As the Heat can attest to, not every victory along the way is pretty, and the Nuggets just won two in ugly fashion.
After the Nuggets overcame a five-point deficit in the last 14 seconds on Thursday to beat the Philadelphia 76ers, Denver let a 15-point, first-half lead slip on Saturday.
Without starting point guard Ty Lawson and key reserve Wilson Chandler for a second straight game, the Nuggets trailed by one at the start of the final frame. They outscored the Kings 31-24 in the fourth to keep the streak alive.
"I can't deny that I'm disappointed that after Philadelphia we threw this out there, from a standpoint of energy and basketball pride," head coach George Karl said. "It wasn't a flat game; it was just kind of an NBA-funky game. Fortunately, we found enough confidence and enough skill to win the game."
Six Nuggets scored in double figures, led by Gallinari's 19.
The Hornets are on a good run of their own, but their winning streak is 13 games less than Monday's opponent.
New Orleans is in the midst of a seven-game homestand and is 2-1 thus far. They bested the Boston Celtics 87-86 on Wednesday, then took out the Memphis Grizzlies 90-83 on Friday.
"The next couple games are not going to be easy, but the last few games haven't been easy either," said guard Greivis Vasquez. "We just have to keep doing what we have been doing."
What the Hornets have been doing is play defense. They haven't allowed their opponents 100 points in their last five games and kept Boston and Memphis, two playoff clubs, under 90 points.
"Defense is where it's at," head coach Monty Williams said after the Grizzlies win. "We can get mesmerized by a great offense and we all want that. I certainly welcome it, but at the end of the day that's who we are. If we are ever going to do anything big here in this town it's going to start on that end of the floor."
The bigs for the Hornets were great on Friday. Robin Lopez had 23 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks, while Anthony Davis, the first pick in last summer's draft, scored 18 points, grabbed 15 boards and blocked two.
The Nuggets have won both matchups this season with the Hornets and have taken three of their last five in New Orleans.