The Denver Nuggets have played some excellent stretches of basketball this season, you could say that they have been the surprise team this year.
They have been playing with confidence, poise, and swagger, most of that provided by veteran Chauncey Billups.
They can blow by anybody in terms of scoring, and can play lock-down defense when it really matters.
They have amassed a 12-2 record against the best competition the NBA has to offer, and they are a combined 6-0 against the Los Angeles Lakers (2-0) Cleveland Cavaliers (2-0), Orlando Magic (1-0) and Boston Celtics (1-0), all widely considered contenders for the Larry O'Brien trophy come June.
They have veteran leadership in Chauncey Billups, who is also one of the best point guards in the game today, and one of the best scorers in Carmelo Anthony, who can also play lock-down defense when it matters.
All seems swell in Denver right?
Well, it's not as dandy as they would like it to be.
Denver currently has eight combined losses to: Detroit Pistons, Sacramento Kings, Washington Wizards, Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Milwaukee Bucks.
They seem to have the same problems that they Los Angeles Lakers have, they seem to play according to their competition.
Not much of a problem considering that when the Playoffs come around, their competition will be fairly good, or great when they play teams like the Lakers, Mavs, or if they get that far, the Cavs or Magic.
I wouldn't say that they play according to their competition, but I would say that they have problems focusing.
Guys like J.R. Smith and Kenyon Martin can be real knuckle heads, and sometimes only take momentum away from the Nuggets.
Especially if both are cold, because J.R. Smith has the tendency to shoot, shoot, and shoot, even when he's missing. Kenyon Martin also has the tendency to take too many mid-range jumpers, even when they aren't falling.
The Nuggets are a very talented team, and they will go far in the playoffs, but until they solve their focus problems, they will still be second in the West to the Lakers.
Never mind that they are 2-0 against the Lakers this season, Orlando was also 2-0 against the Lakers last year, and they got beat in the Finals by the same Lakers' Squad.
Are the Nuggets the best team in the NBA? Maybe the most talented, but they are not the best yet.