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Preview: The Nuggets battle for the playoffs continues against Washington Wizards

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Will the Nuggets pull a rabbit out of a hat against the Wizards?

NBA: Washington Wizards at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

After finally taking care of business against an inferior opponent on Wednesday, the Nuggets’ long quest for the playoffs improvement continues tonight against the Washington Wizards. Now firmly two games behind Utah for the eighth playoff spot, Denver pretty much has to be perfect from here on out against a tough schedule in order to even sniff the postseason.

Washington defeated the Nuggets in the third game of the season but things have changed for both teams since then. John Wall had arthroscopic knee in January, but despite missing their All-Star point guard the Wizards are still in shape to make another playoff appearance. Gary Harris remains out for Denver with a knee strain/sprain. Any road game is a tough game for the Nuggets, but hopefully this will be a night where the good Nuggets show up to play.

The Basics

Who: Denver Nuggets (39-33) at Washington Wizards (40-31)

When: 5:00 PM MT

Where: Capital One Center, Washington D.C.

How to watch: Altitude

Rival blog: Bullets Forever

Injury Report: Paul Millsap - questionable (illness); Gary Harris - out (knee); Tyler Lydon - out (knee); John Wall - out (knee)

Which Nuggets team will show up tonight?

This is how the trend has gone for Denver this season: Win some games. Lose some games. Win a game or two. Lose some really bad games. Pretty much the only thing the Nuggets have been consistent in this year (besides awful defense) has been their inconsistency. Despite being well above .500, the Nuggets have only had one real stretch of the season where they looked like a really solid team. Their longest win streak is only four games, but credit to them as well for never having lost more than three games in a row either.

In theory the Nuggets would be well past the point where they know they can’t just play down or up to the competition. Recent losses against Dallas and Memphis say otherwise, but Wednesday’s blowout in Chicago could be signs of a turning point. The good news is that Washington is a good team, so the effort and energy should be there. The bad news is is that Denver is still awful on the road. The margin for error is slim if the Nuggets want a date with Houston in the first round - a loss tonight would be yet another nail in the coffin.