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NBA Snapshot — Monday, March 25

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Previewing Monday’s games and looking at playoff projections.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Oklahoma City Thunder Alonzo Adams-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

  • Well, it took the Nuggets less than 24 hours to fall out of the top seed, and it remains unlikely they will stick there. The Nuggets are projected to finish two games back (57-25 vs 55-27) according to FiveThirtyEight. That can change if the Nuggets win their final game versus the Warriors on April 2nd.
  • This means a great deal for Denver’s first round matchup. The teams in the 5th through 8th seeds will continue to jockey for position, and you can bet they’d rather face the Nuggets than the Warriors or the likely 2019 MVP in James Harden and the Rockets.

FiveThirtyEight projects the playoff order as follows:

  1. Golden State: 57-25
  2. Denver: 55-27
  3. Houston: 53-29
  4. Portland: 51-31
  5. Utah: 50-32
  6. Oklahoma City: 49-33
  7. San Antonio: 48-34 (will likely own tiebreaker over LAC due to conference record)
  8. Los Angeles: 48-34

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 = 11 combined Nuggets wins and Warriors losses

Games to watch Monday night

Oklahoma City Thunder vs Memphis Grizzlies — 6:00 pm MST

Who to root for: Memphis. Between San Antonio’s style of surgical playmaking and shot taking and Oklahoma City’s style of performing surgery with a hammer, I think the Nuggets would prefer to meet the Thunder in the playoffs. Therefore, rooting for OKC losses is an easy choice.

Phoenix Suns vs Utah Jazz — 7:00 pm MST

Who to root for: Utah. Denver will win another four games between now and the playoffs to stay ahead of Utah and ensure home court in the first round. That’s nearly a certainty. With that in mind, Utah winning here makes sense to push OKC and LAC further down the standings.

Brooklyn Nets vs Portland Trail Blazers — 8:00 pm MST

Who to root for: Portland. The Blazers have a great shot at grabbing the 3 seed over the Rockets if they continue their hot pace. I see around three to four losses on their schedule and four to five on Houston’s, meaning the Blazers would move ahead of the Rockets. Not a bad consolation for the Nuggets if they can’t grab the 1 seed.