Andre Iguodala tries to score against the 76ers, his former team, during the Nuggets’ season opener in Philadelphia. The Nuggets play 17 of their
Andre Iguodala tries to score against the 76ers, his former team, during the Nuggets' season opener in Philadelphia. The Nuggets play 17 of their first 23 games this season on the road. (Drew Hallowell, Getty Images)

The advertisements hawking tickets before Thursday night's Nuggets-Heat game in Denver screamed: "Miami's only trip to Denver!" But it felt like the Nuggets' only trip to Denver.

The local NBA team through Thursday played six of its first nine games on the road — and will play 17 of its first 23 outside Colorado.

It's a brutal stretch of scheduling for the Nuggets. And it continues Saturday and Monday when the Nuggets travel to play the Spurs and the Grizzlies.

Thanks a ton, Davey Stern.

The Nuggets play at San Antonio on Saturday at 6:30 p.m., then play at Memphis on Monday at 6 p.m. Both games will air on Altitude.

"We're not going to sit here and cry about it," Nuggets coach George Karl said this week.

The Nuggets finished last season with the fifth-best road record in the NBA at 18-15. That was in a lockout-shortened season. In their last full season, the 2010-11 campaign, the Nuggets were only 17-24 away from home. This season, the Nuggets are 2-4 on the road.

"Every game is going to be a dogfight for us on the road," Karl said. "We haven't gotten the confidence yet that we're going to go in and steamroll road wins."

But Karl wasn't displeased with Denver's .500 record before Thursday's game against LeBron James and the defending champion Heat.

"I'm kind of happy with how we've played. I'm not happy with how well we've played. But as a coach, how is probably more important than how well."

The Nuggets have been an anomaly so far. They dominate the boards, ranking second in the NBA in total rebounds. Kenneth Faried leads the league in offensive grabs.

But the Nuggets, usually a run-and-gun team, also rank in the bottom half of the league (17th) in offensive efficiency (average points put up in 100 possessions).

"They've been very unpredictable," TNT analyst Reggie Miller told The Denver Post's Benjamin Hochman this week. "They have shown glimpses of why they took the Lakers to seven games in last year's playoffs and also they've shown they could easily be an eighth seed this season. But they need to show more consistency."

The Nuggets' schedule the next four days also will test them with individual matchups. League-leading rebounder Zach Randolph leads Memphis and San Antonio's Tim Duncan ranks second in the NBA in player efficiency behind James.

It's a long road to the NBA playoffs.


Roadies

The Nuggets continue their long, winding road to start the NBA season with two games outside Colorado in the next four days:

Saturday: At San Antonio, 6:30 p.m., ALT
Monday: At Memphis, 6 p.m., ALT