The Denver Nuggets haven't generated much noise during their title defense season, as they are currently the third seed in the Western Conference even after their 103-97 win over the Miami Heat on Thursday night. At present, they are looking up at the Minnesota Timberwolves and Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference standings, while the Boston Celtics look like a world-beating team armed with arguably the best core in the NBA.

However, the Nuggets are sensing blood in the water; as teams head into the stretch run, the reigning NBA champion has a singular goal in mind, and that is to claim the Larry O'Brien trophy for the second consecutive season. Michael Porter Jr.'s comments following their win over the Heat sums up everything the league has to fear about the defending title holders.

“We're locked in right now. Before the break, everyone was looking forward to the break, and then the break goes by so quick and you realize you don't have another break anymore,” Porter said in his postgame presser, via Ryan Blackburn of Mile High Sports.

Indeed, the Nuggets look like a much more focused team coming out of the All-Star break. After a dispiriting loss to the Sacramento Kings ended the pre-All-Star break stretch of their season in an unideal fashion, they have proceeded to win their first five games coming out of Indianapolis, including three quality wins against above .500 teams in the Golden State Warriors, Kings, and Heat (in that exact order).

It's a sign of a well-coached team and a chemistry-filled squad that the Nuggets are able to rise to the occasion. For Michael Porter Jr., he recognized the fact that the Nuggets, despite losing Jamal Murray during their contest against the Heat, brought a little something extra to the table which allowed them to claim a shorthanded victory.

“We play a lot of games, so as much as I would like to say ‘every night you've got it', some nights you just don't. But big game against the team we played in the NBA Finals. I think everybody was locked in tonight,” Porter added.

The Nuggets still reign supreme, and teams should remain very afraid of running against them in the postseason.