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The Los Angeles Lakers were poised to make their run. The off-season acquisitions of point guard Steve Nash and center Dwight Howard had them stacked. They would make a pre-ordained tear through the Western Conference and be prepared for their inevitable showdown with the Miami Heat for the NBA title.

Then the season started.

The Lakers lost Steve Nash in their opener. A bone fracture will keep the Hall-of-Famer sidelined for gosh knows how long. They've gone 1-4 in their first five games and are in the basement of the Pacific Division. And today they have reportedly fired their head coach, Mike Brown.

Uh, oh. Trouble in Lakerland.

That's great news for your Denver Nuggets, who appear to be improving with every game. The Nuggets, currently 2-3, can pull themselves back up to .500 with a win at Pepsi Center tonight versus the Utah Jazz. They appear to be battling back after a slow start, and are looking down at the Lakers in the Western Conference standings. This circumstance was unexpected and, now that LA's apple cart has been upset, there's no telling the benefit to Denver.

The Lakers will certainly get things turned around - they'll be a formidable contender. But, for the time being, their instability bolsters the hopefulness of the Nuggets and their fans. The early part of the Nuggets' schedule, after all, is tough. So for them not to be losing ground to LA right now is fabulous.

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