Apr 11, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorThe National Basketball Association is down to crunch time in the regular season.
One thing I have learned in the marathon season is that the Denver Nuggets are a title contender from the West Conference.
The Nuggets are fresh off a solid victory over the San Antonio Spurs Wednesday night in Denver.
The win was the 54th victory of the season, tying the franchise record.
A lot of the credit for Denver's success belongs to coach George Karl. There is no question Karl is one of the best coaches in the league. He deserves to be the coach of the year when the awards come out later on.
He is getting the most out of his players. He is making them understand his system, and they are winning the right way. Karl likes his offense to be in high gear, but he knows how important playing defense can be in critical parts of the game.
His key players this year have been Wilson Chandler, Andre Iguodale, JaVale McGee, Ty Lawson, Corey Brewer and Andre Miller. Point guard Ty Lawson just got hurt, and that is a tough loss.
Miller is the perfect player to have on the team if you want to have a coach on the floor.
Miller has been around the NBA for a long time. I'm hoping he will finally taste some success in the playoffs. He is the right person the Nuggets need to have on their roster to control the young NBA stars.
If the playoffs started today, the Nuggets would be a No. 3 seed from the West. Denver would open against Golden State.
I like the Nuggets to advance to the next round, but
Golden State isn't going to be easy. Karl will come up with a game plan to keep Denver alive.
The Nuggets will get my full attention when the postseason starts, because things don't look really good right now for my beloved Utah Jazz.
The Jazz are fighting for their playoff lives right for the No. 8 spot with the Los Angeles Lakers, and I don't think Kobe Bryant is not going to let the Jazz sneak into the playoffs for the final spot.
Bryant is going to do everything he can do make get his team into the postseason. He scored 47 points in a key win for the Lakers last night at Portland.
Oklahoma City is the best team in the West. Kevin Durant is having another outstanding season scoring and even is playing a little defense.
Russell Westbrook makes the Thunder click on defense, and some of his dunks this season have just been amazing to watch on the highlight show.
I don't like the San Antonio Spurs at all. I hope they make a quick exit from the playoffs. That probably won't happen, but I'm not a big fan of Tim Duncan or San Antonio's coach Gregg Popovich.
Moving to the East conference, the New York Knicks have the best chance of dethroning the Miami Heat for the opportunity to play in the finals.
New York's Carmelo Anthony is the most productive player on the court right now in the league. He can post up on just about everybody. He is playing under control right now.
The smart decisions Anthony and his teammates are making have put New York on a 13-game win streak. Jason Kidd is another factor for the recent success.
I will be in Anthony's corner when the Knicks should be playing the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals.
It's time for the Heat to taste a defeat.
The NBA fans need to have a new champion.
I would like to see Anthony get the first ring of his career. He can take them all the way.
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