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Nuggetsadamus returns to predict the remainder of the season...

Around this time last season, Nuggetsadamus helped me when I predicted that the Nuggets would finish with 51 wins and finish eighth in the Western Conference. The Nuggets ended up finishing eighth alright, but with 50 wins instead of 51.

Looking at the standings this morning, I noticed that the Nuggets are just two games back from the Spurs, a half game back of the Rockets (which is really like a game-and-a-half back since the Rockets own the tiebreaker with the Nuggets), a half game ahead of the Blazers, a full game ahead of the Hornets and a game-and-a-half ahead of the Jazz. So I decided to ask Nuggetsadamus to make his end-of-season predictions again, but this time forecast for all the teams the Nuggets will be jockeying with for playoff positioning. Here's what he told me...

Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets will win their next two games against the pathetic Grizzlies and even more pathetic Wizards to improve to 45-25. But then they're going to drop two-out-of-three on the road in Phoenix, New Orleans and Dallas. I don't know which two games will be losses, but I can tell you that a Hornets loss would be the worst because they'd own the season series over the Nuggets and thus, the home court playoff tiebreaker. So let's hope that's the one game the Nuggets win and they finish the three game roadie at 46-27.
Next up, the Nuggets get five out of six games at home, and these games are a joke with the exception of a home date with Utah on April 2nd (on TNT). I believe that Chris Andersen's block in Rudy Fernandez's face broke the Nuggets TNT curse, and they'll beat the Jazz that night, winning their third straight home game. They'll beat the Clippers in Denver two days later, but lose their focus in Minneapolis the next day when the Timberwolves beat them unexpectedly, bringing the Nuggets record to 50-28. After a home win against the Thunder, the Nuggets will lose to the Lakers on April 9th (also on TNT) who want to show the Nuggets what they'll be facing should they meet in the second round. The Nuggets will then beat Sacramento at home and beat the Blazers in Portland to finish off the season with 53 wins and squeak by the Blazers for the division championship.

San Antonio Spurs

I know you want to see the Nuggets catch the Spurs, but it's not going to happen. The Spurs have a reasonably favorable schedule and will win 12 more games against just four losses to finish 56-26, three games ahead of Denver. Worst-case, they finish 54-28. Either way, the Nuggets aren't catching them.

Houston Rockets

Your Nuggets really shouldn't have screwed around against the Rockets in Denver last week because it's going to come back to haunt them. All George Karl had to do was give Renaldo Balkman a few minutes to harass Ron Artest and the Nuggets might have won that game! But while I can see into the future accurately, I regrettably don't possess the power to change the past. And looking ahead, I see the Rockets winning nine of their remaining 13 games, to tie the Nuggets with 53 wins. But by holding the head-to-head tiebreaker, the Rockets will get the third playoff seed while Denver settles for fourth and a likely second round matchup against the Lakers. Next time you talk to your coach and players, please remind them that some regular season games are more important than others!

New Orleans Hornets

The Hornets have a tougher schedule than San Antonio and Houston, but I still see them winning 11 more games while losing five to finish 52-30, just a game back from Denver. But remember, Nuggetsadamus is known to be off by a game! So make sure the Nuggets play their asses off in New Orleans next week. If they can win that game, the Nuggets will own the head-to-head tiebreaker which is the equivalent of giving them an extra game lead over the Hornets.

Portland Trailblazers

The Blazers will fall prey to their inexperience, winning 10 more games but dropping five, including the season-ender at home to your Nuggets. That last game will be similar to the Nuggets having to win at Golden State last season, and we saw how the Nuggets were able to man up and pull off the victory. But even if Portland wins that final game against Denver, they'll tie the Nuggets in record but lose the next tiebreaker, division record. My concern for you and your readers, though, is that the Nuggets will lose to the Hornets next week and the Blazers in the final game, leaving the Nuggets at 52-30, tied with the Hornets in record but get no home court advantage in the playoffs. I can't reiterate this enough: the Nuggets have to beat the Hornets next week!!

Utah Jazz

Oh, how the once mighty have fallen. The Jazz have had a remarkable season given their litany of injuries but - and pardon my strong language hear - they suck on the road. Unless there are a plethora of Mormons in the stands, the Jazz seem to play a couple notches below their true potential. Making matters worse, they have seven tough road games ahead and will lose at least five of them. I see Utah finishing 50-32 and with the seventh seed in the Western Conference.

While we were at it, I decided to ask Nuggetsadamus about the Broncos situation with Jay Cutler...

Don't ask me, that's above my pay grade. You'll have to check with Broncosadamus on that one.