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.
- The Los Angeles Lakers were eliminated last night by D’Angelo Russell — the star they traded to get off of Timofey Mozgov’s contract so they could sign a second star to pair with LeBron James — and the Brooklyn Nets. That’s it. That’s the bullet point.
- I don’t expect the Thunder to stay above the Clippers, Jazz, or Spurs in the standings, but they are currently there now. In OKC’s last nine games, they play five playoff teams. The Clippers, Jazz, and Spurs play a combined eight games against playoff teams. The Clippers and Jazz play each other, and the Nuggets play the Jazz one more time, but I still expect Utah and San Antonio to leapfrog both Oklahoma City and Los Angeles. That means that Denver will likely face either of those two teams in the first round.
Updated magic number scenarios for the Nuggets are as follows:
- Home court advantage in the first round = 4 combined Nuggets wins and Jazz losses
- Home court in the first and second rounds = 7 combined Nuggets wins and Rockets losses
- Top seed in the Western Conference = 12 combined Nuggets wins and Warriors losses
Games to watch Saturday night
Utah Jazz vs Chicago Bulls — 6:00 pm MST
Who to root for: Utah. The Jazz aren’t catching the Nuggets, but they could sure help Denver out by pushing the Clippers down to a 7 or 8 seed.
Dallas Mavericks vs Golden State Warriors — 6:30 pm MST
Who to root for: Dallas. Stephen Curry is sitting out and resting this game. The Warriors obviously still have the talent to win without him, but if they were to slip up, it would give Denver a window to grabbing the 1 seed. I don’t see a ton of losses remaining on Golden State’s schedule, so manufacturing losses out of games they are supposed to win is the only realistic way Denver has a shot at the top spot.
Who to root for: Portland. Nuggets fans need to become Blazers fans really quick. The more wins Portland accumulates, the more likely Houston falls to the 4 seed and out of Denver’s bracket. Damian Lillard is awesome, but he shouldn’t scare Nuggets fans the way James Harden does in a playoff series.