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NBA Snapshot — Wednesday, March 20

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Rockets vs Grizz, Heat vs Spurs, Raptors vs Thunder, and more

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-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

  • The Nuggets are the only West playoff team with 13 games left to play. That means 13 opportunities for wins...and losses. The max wins Denver can accumulate is 60, but given their tough strength of schedule, simply reaching 55 wins would be an excellent accomplishment. Most of the teams they have yet to play will be jockeying for seeding though, so it remains a difficult proposition.
  • Denver’s Magic Number for home court advantage in the first round is 7 (i.e. number of Denver wins plus losses by San Antonio, the 5 seed). The magic number for a top 3 seed is 8. The magic number for a top 2 seed is 10. The magic number for the top seed in the West is 14.
  • The Rockets and Blazers are doing everything they can to reach a top 3 seed. In doing so, both would avoid the Warriors (if Golden State claims the 1 seed) and potentially face the Nuggets in the second round.

Games to watch Wednesday night

Utah Jazz vs New York Knicks — 5:30 pm MST

Who to root for: Utah. Now that Denver won versus Boston, I think it’s unlikely that the Jazz can catch the Nuggets in the final standings. Denver is up in the loss column by seven games, and it would take a miracle (or a nightmare) for Utah to overtake Denver. For that reason, Utah should win as many games as reasonably possible so Denver can avoid them in the first round of the playoffs.

Houston Rockets vs Memphis Grizzlies — 6:00 pm MST

Who to root for: Memphis. Any way for the Rockets to falter helps Denver. As I said above, Denver’s magic number to claim a top 2 seed is 10. The more losses Houston contributes to that, the more likely it is that Denver can rest starters late in the season.

Miami Heat vs San Antonio Spurs — 6:30 pm MST

Who to root for: Miami. The Spurs have won nine in a row, and they need to slow their roll. With the fourth easiest schedule remaining, it’s not out of the question that San Antonio’s run continues. Dropping a game to a playoff team in the East would be a great way to slow down the Spurs.

Toronto Raptors vs Oklahoma City Thunder — 7:30 pm MST

Who to root for: Toronto. This game is tougher to quantify which outcome Denver should root for, but the biggest indicator is that Denver would probably prefer facing Oklahoma City in the playoffs over Utah. Because of that, Denver should root for Oklahoma City to lose. That shouldn’t be hard though. OKC’s schedule is very tough.

Dallas Mavericks vs Portland Trail Blazers — 8:00 pm MST

Who to root for: Dallas. Portland is still in striking position of Denver. While it would be nice for Portland to push Houston from the 3 seed, it’s more important that Denver stays in the top 3. The nightmare scenario is for Denver to fall to 4th, be forced to play Utah in the first round, and then be rewarded with a Golden State series if they happen to oust the pesky Jazz.