Strangely, the Nuggets' 95-93 loss to the New Orleans Hornets on Saturday afternoon made me more, not less, optimistic that the team will take the series. My rationale:
The Nugs blew a huge first quarter lead, as they've done innumerable times in recent years -- but instead of going quietly, they clawed their way back late in the fourth quarter and actually had a chance to win; Chris Paul can't play any better than he did during the game, and neither can he get any more calls; Chauncey Billups and J.R. Smith can't be any colder from a shooting perspective; and Carmelo Anthony, who wound up with 25 points, still hasn't played his best game. Bottom line: This was the Hornets' chance to make a statement, and that statement was: "Even when we've got everything going for us, we can barely beat these guys."
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In my mind, these factors add up to a Nuggets win tonight, giving the squad a chance to finish off the Hornets the next time they tip. And if I'm wrong? I'll eat shit tomorrow morning -- but I'm confident I'll be dining on something much tastier.