The Nuggets' arrow is pointed up. It doesn't mean the team is anywhere near where it wants to be. Andre Miller, the team's veteran leader, made that point clear.

"We've got a long way to go," Miller said. "Not just getting to the playoffs, but getting out of the first round is something that I would like to accomplish. We're not there yet. We haven't played a full 48 minutes with both groups this year. We've had some good wins, comeback wins, guys playing good individual games, but we haven't had a good team-effort game."

A January full of home games has been a gift and curse for the Nuggets, who have developed a personality of not getting out of the gate quickly but finishing strong. They are one of the NBA's best home teams but still working on myriad flaws as they approach the halfway point of the season.

Tuesday night's contest against Portland was Game No. 40. Nuggets coach George Karl has a full list of what he likes and what he wants to see improved in the second half.

"I think quietly, we've become a pretty efficient team offensively," Karl said. "We've taken the turnover out of the game. At the beginning of the year we were lower five, probably. I think now we're close to the top 10 in turnover efficiency. And I think our defense is improving. It's gradually getting better, and I think Wilson (Chandler) is going to help that, so that excites me.

Read more: Nuggets Journal: Guard Andre Miller believes Denver has "a long way to go" - The Denver Post

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