It's been 21 years since the Denver Nuggets opened a playoff series at home and 15 years since they were anything but first-round fodder.
Their reward for tying their franchise record with a 54-win season and earning the second seed in the Western Conference? A first-round date with the New Orleans Hornets, All-Stars Chris Paul and David West and their nasty pick-and-roll offense.
To capitalize on their home-court edge, the Nuggets need to handle both Paul, who beat out Chauncey Billups for the backup point guard spot on the U.S. Olympic team last summer, and West, who essentially took Carmelo Anthony's spot on the All-Star team.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)