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The Denver Nuggets head down the stretch

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It’s not stretch to say that the Denver Nuggets are going to need to be at their best over the next month to keep their playoff hopes alive

NBA: Washington Wizards at Denver Nuggets
Gary Harris stretches a bit himself on his way to a team-high 26 points vs. the Wizards
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

18 is my lucky number. It also seems to work well for golf courses, the Gaelic alphabet, and racehorse naming conventions. It also happens to be the number of games left in your Denver Nuggets 2016-2017 season, as they race down the home stretch clinging to the eighth seed. Looking at the schedule below, here are a few facts about what’s up for the good guys in 18 games in the next 35 days.

By the numbers:

8 – The number games against teams who have a worse record than the Nuggets, and not a one of them a pushover. Eight games against six opponents. Denver has a winning record against Dallas and New Orleans, and a split vs. the Lakers. Denver has a losing record to the remaining three in Sacramento, Portland, and Charlotte. The Pelicans are the only team on the list Denver hasn’t lost to this season, and that was in a Game 1 win that preceded Halloween. Oh, and they may have added DeMarcus Cousins. Neither team will recognize one another on March 26th, and in 13 days they will have knocked out three matches. More on that in a sec…

10 – Road games left out of the eighteen, and as Stiff’s own Zach Mikash pointed out beautifully at the end of his recap last night, the Nuggets need to be making hay now, as they’ve dropped two out of three at the Pepsi Center during a protracted stretch that sees them mostly at home. Once Denver sees the Pelicans on March 26th, seven of the Nuggets last nine games are on the road, including a five-game jaunt that sees them travel from Portland to Charlotte before swinging across the Gulf on their way back.

3 – Teams the Nuggets will see multiple times over the last 18, making up 8 of their games. Denver will see Houston and New Orleans (as mentioned) three times apiece, and Oklahoma City in two of their final three contests.

3 – Back-to-back contests to go, comprising a third of the games left to play, including a wait-and-see-what-develops duo to wrap up the season against the Mavs and Thunder. Wait and see, because if their playoff seeds (or lack thereof) are established, both teams may be interested in resting players. If both teams futures hinge on wins, the Nuggets could have their hands full to wrap up the year.

9 – Weekend games, that fall on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday night. No excuses not to catch at LEAST half of the Nuggets games left in the season, Nuggets Nation, and right as the team could use the support to make their playoff push.

1 – Player who has played in all 64 of the Nuggets games this season, Jamal Murray.

Nothing easy about what the home stretch brings, Nuggets Nation. Denver has played well against some of the toughest opponents on the docket, and confoundingly against some of the cupcakes. When we’ve knocked out the next dozen-and-a-half, where do you expect the team to be? And why? Do the 2016-2017 Denver Nuggets make the playoffs?