A Nuggets fan walks into a bar. The bartender spots the fan, recognizes his unbridled allegiance to the team and serves up a cocktail fitting this occasion. He then places it in front of the fan — it's a glass, with a blue beverage, filled halfway. "I call it," the bartender said, "a mixologist's metaphor." Indeed, the glass that is the Nuggets can been seen as half full. And half empty.

The Nuggets own a 30-18 record and have a six-game winning streak as they continue to move up the Western Conference standings.

But, arguably, the team has issues. And even coach George Karl has admitted that his team isn't in a battle for first in the Western Conference. It is in a battle for fourth place and home-court advantage in a first-round playoff series.