How the NBA schedule rattled the Nuggets … and their opponents

Kyle Korver needs answers because something just doesn’t add up. So after the final buzzer sounds at Quicken Loans Arena, the Cleveland Cavaliers guard seeks out the opposing head coach.

“Man,nfl jerseys for cheap you guys are supposed to be tired tonight,” Korver tells Denver’s Mike Malone.

The Nuggets had played in Memphis the night before, Korver notes, then left immediately after and traveled overnight — losing an hour as they crossed time zones — to Cleveland. The very next night, in what would be the Nuggets’ third game in five days, they faced a Cavaliers squad that had been off the previous day and had been home for a while, as this would mark their fourth game of a five-game homestand.

“You guys are supposed to be tired,” Korver again tells Malone.

Malone laughs. He is very tired, having not settled into bed until about 3:30 a.m. earlier that morning. But it’s no secret that during the helter-skelter NBA calendar, every team knows exactly when it’s battling far more than its opponent, just as every opponent knows exactly when it has a significant edge, as the Cavaliers believed they had entering this March 3 evening. That’s also why this particular game qualified as one of our 54 schedule alert games for 2017-18 — games in which, according to our formula, one team faces a steep competitive disadvantage due to the schedule.

Yet, somehow, the Nuggets pulled off a 126-117 win at Quicken Loans Arena. And the next morning, still in the fog from a string of late nights and lost sleep, Malone credited his players not just for beating the Cavaliers but for fighting through heavy fatigue.

“Sometimes, mentally, you have to find ways to fight through it and it’s not easy,” Malone said, “because some days you wake up, you literally wake up and you go, ‘What city am I in? Who are we playing tonight? And what happened last night?'”

That’s life for any team abiding by the NBA’s schedule, although Malone’s squad faced more than its fair share of fatigue in 2017-18. This season, the Nuggets played a league-high six schedule alert games. For context,cheap nfl authentic jerseys the Nuggets played three schedule alert games in January alone. Meanwhile, the Pelicans, Knicks, 76ers and Cavaliers did not play in one all season.

The Nuggets lost their first four schedule alert games before winning their final two. In those six games combined, their point differential was minus-22 in the first half and minus-one in the second. In their four schedule alert losses, the average margin of defeat was 11.25 points, ranging from 2-32 points. In one such loss, on Jan. 13 against the Spurs, the Nuggets trailed by 38 — and shot a season-low 34.9 percent.