The Nuggets, perhaps temporarily, took over the No. 2 seed last night with a big win over the Kobe Bryant/Andrew Bynum-less Lakers. The win was Denver's fourth in a row and their second big comeback win in as many nights. With March Madness officially over, there has been complete chaos so far in the NBA's Western Conference. Here is a look at the five matchups tonight that will directly impact the Nuggets ...
Thanks to reader and Nuggets optimist jpage78 for reminding me to post this "Games of Interest" thread ...
If the playoffs started today the Nuggets would play the San Antonio Spurs in Round 1 ...
All game times are Mountain Time:
6:00 pm: Utah Jazz at New Orleans Hornets -
The Jazz currently sit alone as the No. 5 seed with a record of 51-28 ... a win tonight against a "nothing to really play for" Hornets team keeps the Jazz just one loss behind the Nuggets for the No. 2 seed and would help the Jazz not slip any further, for now, into a 6, 7 or 8 seed.
6:00 pm: Los Angeles Lakers at Minnesota Timberwolves -
Will Kobe Bryant suit-up tonight? Will the Lakers clinch the No. 1 spot with a win over a 15 win Timberwolves team? If they don't take this one the Lakers still leave a tiny window open for the 27 loss Nuggets to maybe take the top spot ... remember, Denver could tie the Lakers if they win out and L.A. loses out and the Nuggets own the season series tie breaker with Kobe and Company (3-1).
6:00 pm: Phoenix Suns at Oklahoma City Thunder -
The current No. 4 seed Suns travel to Loud City for a matchup with the sliding No. 8 seed Thunder. A win by Kevin Durant's squad would keep them alive to climb out of an anticipated first round matchup with the Lakers. A Suns loss would drop them to 28 losses and a full game behind the Nuggets for the No. 2 seed.
6:30 pm: Memphis Grizzlies at San Antonio Spurs -
The No. 7 Spurs are in a must win game at home tonight. The Spurs travel to Denver tomorrow to face the Nuggets in a back-to-back set and really need a win over the Grizzlies to ensure they don't drop into the No. 8 spot out West, should the Thunder win. The aging Spurs are catching fire right now and might be the most dangerous first-round match up out there.
8:00 pm: On NBA-TV ... Dallas Mavericks at Portland Trail Blazers -
Our only nationally televised game (unless ESPN/TNT has picked one of the above games up). The Mavs play in Sacramento tomorrow night in a back-to-back set and desperately need to keep pace with the Nuggets for the No. 2 seed. The current No. 6 seed Blazers do not want to slide back to the No. 8 seed if they should lose coupled with a Spurs and Thunder win ... the Blazers are tough at home (25-13), but the Mavs are road ready (24-13). It'd be nice to see our division rival Blazers hand us a gift with a win tonight.
Is your head dizzy? Mine is ... take a look at the current standings here. We can all rest a little bit easier after the Nuggets two big comeback wins, but with three gams left to play ... Denver is still in need of some help and some big wins.
Photo courtesy of: AP Photos Tony Gutierrez