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.
- Last night’s games caused some movement in the standings. San Antonio and Oklahoma City swapped places, and the Thunder continue to look like they are in for a tumble down the standings. Just a week ago, the Thunder were competing for a top 2 seed with the Nuggets and Rockets. Now, they will be lucky to get home court advantage. A fascinating shift for the team with the fourth toughest remaining strength of schedule in the NBA.
- A win by Denver and a loss by Golden State contributed to both franchises sitting tied in the standings this morning, and suddenly, the top seed in the Western Conference isn’t so far away. The Nuggets still have to outperform the Warriors down the stretch, but Golden State is prone to apathetic stretches, especially late in the season. Claiming the top seed in the Western Conference after missing the playoffs last season would be a preposterous jump.
- Four teams are separated in the loss column by just one game — the Spurs, Thunder, Jazz, and Clippers are likely the 5th through 8th seeds this year in some order, but the order remains to be seen. Of the four, the Nuggets avoiding the Jazz would be the most preferable as one of the only teams capable of taking Nikola Jokic out of rhythm.
Games to watch Tuesday night
Houston Rockets vs Atlanta Hawks — 5:30 pm MST
Who to root for: Atlanta. The Hawks have played better as the season has worn on. This one is pretty self explanatory though: Houston catching Denver convolutes the playoff picture even more, and having the highest possible seed affords the Nuggets more games at Pepsi Center, where the Nuggets have posted a 30-6 record on the year.
Golden State Warriors vs Minnesota Timberwolves — 6:00 pm MST
Who to root for: Minnesota. If the Warriors lose this one, the Nuggets will reclaim the top seed in the West. That’s the best possible scenario for Denver.
Indiana Pacers vs Los Angeles Clippers — 8:30 pm MST
Who to root for: Los Angeles. It may be too much to ask for the Clippers to try and keep pace with the rest of the West, but they have the 20th toughest remaining strength of schedule. If the Nuggets hold onto the 2 seed, the only first round opponent they truly match up with is Los Angeles. If the Clippers stay in the 8 seed, then it’s all on the Nuggets to claim the 1 seed themselves.