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A little more than 24 before Katy Winge made history as the first woman in Altitude TV history to serve as a color analyst during a game, she still wasn’t 100 percent sure it would actually happen. Altitude producer Scott Bay had floated the idea to Winge over the last couple of weeks that he might be able to get…

In June, Tim Connelly was at his parent’s home in South Baltimore when his do-it-all wing asked to meet up. Come to the barber shop, Will Barton told him. Free agency was weeks away, and Barton was eligible for a new deal. Barton was coming off a career year in which he’d done everything from start at small forward to fill in at backup point guard. Connelly wasn’t sure if a meeting was a good idea at first. “I was like, ‘I’m not coming to the barber shop with 10 of your guys telling me we should pay you the max, man,'” Connelly, Denver’s president of basketball operations, said.  After some assuaging, Connelly got the address and walked to the…

NIKOLA JOKIC ONLY LETS A SELECT FEW ride his horse Dream Catcher. It’s an exclusive club, one that includes Jokic’s godfather, his girlfriend and Nuggets coach Michael Malone. Not even Jokic’s two older brothers are permitted to climb into the harness behind Dream Catcher and take the reins as Jokic’s horse trots around Sombor’s race track, situated five minutes due south of the city’s main square. But on one afternoon last summer, Jokic let his coach take his pride and joy for a spin around the dirt oval. “The horse is calm,” Jokic said. “So that’s why I thought he could ride it.” Malone was instructed to take Dream Catcher on a light jog around the track, but the horse…

The Denver Nuggets are playoff bound. With a 114-105 win in Boston on Monday, they clinched a postseason spot for the first time since 2013, the latest step in their progression from punching bag to budding contender. There are a number of ways to measure the strides the Nuggets have made in the last half decade, whether it’s the offense (Denver is fourth in offensive efficiency), road record (17-16) or even All-Star selections (Nikola Jokic was the team’s first representative this year since Carmelo Anthony in 2011). All of those are worthy answers. But when asked Saturday about the progress this franchise has made, Will Barton gauged it by going in a different direction: the home crowd. “I remember when I…

The first 18 years of Jamal Murray’s life were a mostly cable-less existence. Jamal’s father, Roger, didn’t want his son spending his free time plopped down in front of a TV. So instead of watching cartoons, Murray honed his jump shot and did push ups in the snow. Because of his unusual upbringing, Murray missed out on Millennial staples such as “Dragon Ball Z,” which means he’s only vaguely familiar with what it means to go Super Saiyan, a concept that applied to characters in the show who underwent a physical transformation and became invincible, and coincidentally explains what happens to the Nuggets any time their starting point guard has it going. When Murray plays well, the Nuggets go to…

Michael Malone’s phone lit up in the middle of his car ride home from the Nuggets’ 29-point win over the Clippers Sunday evening with a text from his starting small forward. Will Barton’s message wasn’t in regards to the three points he scored that night on a paltry 1-6 shooting or his offensive inconsistencies, which through Sunday had been a prevalent storyline surrounding Denver’s do-it-all wing since he returned to the court in January after a hip injury sidelined him for the first three months of the season. It was about the Nuggets’ next opponent and a certain MVP candidate. “I want to guard Paul George,” Barton wrote. “I want that challenge.” “You got it,” Malone responded. Forty-eight hours later…

IT’S THE WEEK OF AUGUST 13, 2018, six weeks before training camp would open, and over 1,400 miles away from the Nuggets’ practice court, the foundation for Denver’s 2018-19 season was laid. The venue was Paul Millsap’s state-of-the-art Core 4 facility in Atlanta, Georgia where for one week Denver moved its entire basketball operations department. During the day, spirited 5-on-5 games were played across every inch of Millsap’s 44,000 square foot warehouse under the watchful eye of the Nuggets’ coaching staff. At night, team dinners and group outings gradually helped to build the tight-knit chemistry and comradery that would hopefully carry Denver to its first playoff appearance since the 2012-13 season. It wasn’t an accident that every member of the…

On a chilly February Milwaukee evening last year, Nikola Jokic made NBA history. In a 134-123 Nuggets win, Jokic recorded the fastest triple-double in league history in just 14 minutes and 33 seconds, smashing Jim Tucker’s record of 17 minutes, which had stood since 1955. You probably know a little bit about Jokic, the Nuggets’ star center who was just selected to his first All-Star game earlier this month and has cemented himself as one of the top big men in the league. But you’re probably not too familiar with Tucker, the 6-foot-7 backup forward who averaged 4.1 points and 3.5 rebounds for the Syracuse Nationals in the 1950s and held the elusive record for more than 60 years. Director…

If you flashback to the days leading up to the 2018 trade deadline, you watched a Nuggets team that was straddling the line of playoff contention, bouncing back and forth between the eighth and ninth seeds with a backup point guard dilemma which needed to be addressed. Denver had been hemorrhaging points while Nikola Jokic sat and Emmanuel Mudiay captained the Nuggets’ second unit. Will Barton was doing a bang up job masquerading as a quasi-backup point guard, but Denver needed his scoring and playmaking on the wing. Jokic, the Nuggets’ default lead ball handler, couldn’t play 40 minutes either. Denver needed a quick fix to try and reach its first playoff appearance of the Michael Malone era. The Nuggets…

Six nuggets for the six triples Jamal Murray sunk in the third quarter of Denver’s 135-105 rout of the Chicago Bulls. 1. Pepsi Center patrons should have a pre-planned escape route and only touch doors with the backs of their hands in the event that Jamal Murray catches fire. The Nuggets third-year point guard gets into zones where is scorching. The third quarter of Thursday’s beatdown of the Chicago Bulls, when Murray hit six 3s, was one such example. He started things off by connecting on a wide-open catch-and-shoot J from the left wing before progressing to pull-ups and step-backs. Murray scored 22 of his team-high 25 points in the quarter. “It’s good to see,” Paul Millsap said. “It’s good…

Jamal Murray played through two sports hernias during his rookie season and still didn’t miss a game. So you knew when Murray went down with what looked like a painful ankle injury late in Friday’s fourth quarter, the only way the 21-year-old point guard was going to leave the game would be in a wheelchair. To no one’s surprise, Murray stayed in the game and hobbled up and down the court for the final four minutes and 30 seconds of Denver’s thrilling 102-99 win over the San Antonio Spurs while wearing a pair of pearly white Adidas fittingly inscribed with the words “Be More” — an ode to mental toughness he prides himself on. “My dad grew up teaching pain tolerance.…

The fadeaway Nikola Jokic began toying around with while he was on the mend from a sprained ankle last winter looked like the shot Dirk Nowitzki made famous except for one crucial difference. When Nowitzki went to his signature shot, he jumped off his left foot and raised his right leg into the air as if a string connected it to his elbow. Jokic jumped off his right foot and thrust his left leg into the air instead, a more awkward spin on the fallaway Nowitzki used again and again on his way to more than 30,000 career points. “My whole body is wrong, so…” Jokic joked, trying to make sense of his wrong-footed fallaway. High release points and soft…

It’s around 24 hours before the Denver Nuggets host the Memphis Grizzlies and Torrey Craig locks himself in his downtown Denver apartment, whips out his iPhone and bypasses Twitter and Instagram for an app called Just Play. Just Play, developed in late 2014 by two former Division 1 athletes, is Craig’s study guide for the next night’s opponent. Stocked full of video uploaded by Nuggets assistant video coordinator Andrew Munson, Craig goes through key sets, actions and plays the Grizzlies will run against Denver and gets familiar with Mike Conley, Memphis’ lead ball handler and the fourth All-Star caliber point guard he’ll match up against over an eight-game span. Craig locks in on video of Conley and tries to get a…

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