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NBA Snapshot — Monday, March 18

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Nuggets vs Celtics, Warriors vs Spurs, and more

NBA: Boston Celtics at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA Snapshot series was created as a daily check-in for Denver Nuggets fans. Every game matters as the season comes to a close, and the playoff bracket is altered constantly. These posts will help inform Nuggets fans of the day’s games, providing an update on the standings and which teams to root for from game to game.


Standings Update

  • Quietly, the gap between the grouping of teams in the 3rd-5th seeds and 6th-8th seeds has shrunk. Only four games separate the 3rd seed Houston Rockets and the 8th seed Los Angeles Clippers. The Golden State Warriors and Denver Nuggets are the only teams that have separated themselves, and even they are vulnerable to losses down the stretch, the Warriors to resting starters and the Nuggets to a difficult schedule.
  • Right now, the Nuggets (circled in green) would face the Utah Jazz (circled in red) in the first round in the playoffs. The Jazz have by far the easiest remaining strength of schedule among West playoff teams so I’d still expect them to move up these rankings a bit.
  • The Portland Trail Blazers just lost CJ McCollum for at least a week due to a left knee strain. He will be reevaluated after that, but watch the Blazers over the next two weeks, including against the Indiana Pacers tomorrow.

Games to watch Monday night

Utah Jazz vs Washington Wizards — 5:00 pm MST

Who to root for: Washington. Nobody wants to see Utah go 13-0 over their weak schedule. It’s unlikely, but not impossible. They play Denver one more time, but after that, Utah’s toughest remaining game on the schedule is against the Clippers. It’s unlikely, but if Utah sweeps their schedule (or close to it) they might overtake Denver.

Denver Nuggets vs Boston Celtics — 5:30 pm MST

Who to root for: The good guys.

Miami Heat vs Oklahoma City Thunder — 6:00 pm MST

Who to root for: Miami. OKC is going through a rough patch, and the more they lose the better. Even if they fall down to the 6 or 7 seed, that’s a matchup the Nuggets could win.

Golden State Warriors vs San Antonio Spurs — 6:00 pm MST

Who to root for: San Antonio. The Spurs have won eight straight, and picking up a ninth game against the Dubs would help Denver. The Nuggets, if they continue winning, could finish in the 1 seed, which would push the Warriors (2 seed) and Rockets (3 seed) onto the same side of the bracket. That would be huge for Denver.

Indiana Pacers vs Portland Trail Blazers — 8:00 pm MST

Who to root for: Indiana. The Nuggets have two games remaining against the Blazers late in the year, and giving them less to fight for seeding wise at that point would be great if Denver’s still pushing for seeding with Golden State and Houston. While pushing Houston from the 3 seed would help if Denver finishes in the 2 seed, Denver must think primarily about their standing in this situation.