noun: fortnight; plural noun: fortnights
- a period of two weeks. Used after the name of a day to indicate that something will take place two weeks after that day.
Old English fēowertīene niht ‘fourteen nights.'
Two weeks from today it will all be over, Nuggets Nation. Your Denver Nuggets will have missed their third consecutive** playoffs and will have begun their lengthy summer break. The front office will begin their plans for the 2016-2017 season, and make some difficult decisions about next steps for the team. In that fortnight there are six more games to be played, with lineups to consider, priorities to manage, and momentum to (hopefully) keep in play. After going 3-3 in their last six games, here's a look at the last half dozen...
Today - 3/31, at the New Orleans Pelicans
Things have gotten so bleak from an injury and win/loss perspective for the Pelicans that coach Alvin Gentry has gotten assistance from a voodoo expert to remove some of the bad juju from the team. The Pels have certainly seemed snakebitten this year, but have split the season series with the Nuggets thus far, with both teams winning on the road.
Also to their favor, the Nuggets have gained nearly half of their 32 wins on the road this season (15), and are also usually solid on the second night of a back-to-back. If luck and effort are good, there's a chance that Denver might just pick up both halves of this two-night road trip. That's great if they do, as things just get funkier from there...
Saturday, 4/2 vs. the Sacramento Kings
Furious George and his royal court bring their hoops drama back to the Pepsi Center for one more visit, with the Kings currently two games back of Denver, with few left to go. Standings or no, the Kings have taken both contests against the Nuggets this season, and a win would be a nice way to send the Kings packing through their last few games. Expect this one to be entertaining, no matter which way the outcome falls. Let's hope it's in the Nuggets favor, as the homestand then takes a turn for the worse...
Tuesday, 4/5 vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder
This division rivalry hasn't been much of one of late for your boys in blue, with OKC dominating the Nuggets over the last few seasons, owning a distinct advantage in the all-time series, and also winning all three matchups this season. Though Rocky's tail brings the lightning, expect the Thunder to roll to win number four, and a series sweep.
Friday, 4/8 vs. the San Antonio Spurs
Out of the frying pan and into the fire for your young Nuggets when the Spurs come to town. San Antonio is having a season to be reckoned with, and would be in the national conversation for their greatness if they weren't being eclipsed by the Golden State Warriors and their pursuit of the best regular season in history. Denver has also dropped all three games this season to the Spurs, and barring coach Gregg Popovich sitting the best parts of the squad to rest up for the playoffs, there's sadly no reason to think the Spurs won't also make it a season sweep.
Will this entire home stand be this miserable? Maybe, because...
Sunday, 4/10 vs. the Utah Jazz
The Nuggets last home game of the season comes against the still-in-it Utah Jazz, winners of seven of their last 10 games. Last night, Utah gave Golden State all they could handle before finally falling in overtime to the Warriors, and have been playing solid basketball over the latter half of the year to climb back to within a game of the .500 mark.
As with the last two challengers, Denver has dropped all three of their contests this season with the Jazz, and may have a tough time with a team still clawing to maintain their grasp on the eighth seed in the Western Conference at playoff time.
To tie a bow on all of that, if your Nuggets are so unlucky as to lose out through the homestand, they will have gone 0-15 this year to the Kings, Thunder, Spurs, and Jazz. Cripes, maybe a road wrap-up isn't the worst idea. The Nuggets blaze a trail out of Denver to visit...
Wednesday, 4/13 at the Portland Trailblazers
Denver took the first game of the series against Portland this year, clear back in early November, when a young canine named Hector was apparently burrowing his way deep into Chris Marlowe's subconscious. Since then, the Blazers have found their way to a 39-36 record and the sixth seed in the West. Guard Damian Lillard has been a revelation for Portland, shouldering a much bigger load than most anticipated he would or could, and backup C.J. McCollum has provided unexpected returns all season long.
If the Blazers are still wrestling for their spot in the standings, expect them to approach this last home game with their hair on fire.
Nothing much easy to come out of this fortnight, Nuggets Nation. Can Emmanuel Mudiay push his red-hot March into April? Can Nikola Jokic keep his foot on the gas through the last of his rookie campaign? Which of Denver's veterans will be back with the team next season? Two weeks until next season is all we've got to talk about.
** If you think these three seasons without a Nuggets playoff game seem lengthy and tedious, remember this: in the 10-season span that preceded these three, the Nuggets had a playoff appearance every one of those years, coinciding with Carmelo Anthony's arrival. Prior to that, the Nuggets had seen an eight-season-long playoff drought. Interminable.