Our Denver Nuggets officially have only 3 games left in the regular season, and although they’ll probably maintain at the 2nd seed in the West, it’s possible they’ll be able to catch the Warriors and take first place back. Based on the season they’ve had, I won’t count them out for any possibility so I’ll continue to hold onto hope.
It’s been a fairly bumpy couple of weeks for the good guys, but overall they’ve held their own and they look to be heading into the playoffs to match up against some teams they’ve soundly defeated in the regular season.
As we approach the final week, let’s take a look back at the last few games and discuss the standout headlines.
Nuggets drop a winnable game to the Washington Wizards
It’s not the last time they’ll do something like this, but these kinds of games are simply frustrating to watch. It’s not so much frustrating that they lost, but that they periodically lose track of entire components of their game. Namely, defense.
The Wizards had THREE players who scored 20 or more (Troy Brown, Thomas Bryant, Jabari Parker), and Bradley Beal wasn’t too far behind at 17.
However, the big problem was that Nikola Jokic wasn’t facilitating the way he usually does pulling in only 4 assists before getting himself ejected in the 4th quarter. As Spiderman says, “With great power comes great responsibility,” and I am firmly unimpressed that the Nuggets’ star got himself thrown from the game so that he could argue with the official. I don’t care if he was wrong or right, the goal is to win games, and getting yourself kicked out is not productive to achieving that goal.
Sure, he’s the Nuggets’ best player, but that doesn’t mean he gets blind support for every action he takes. Part of being the best is being held accountable when you make a mistake, and I think he’s worthy and capable of shouldering the criticism. So, chill. Let’s not blow this out of proportion.
Beyond that, we all know that when Jokic isn’t facilitating, the Nuggets’ offense quite literally shuts down causing them to lose very winnable games. They need to make sure they nip this in the bud because they’re heading into the playoffs potentially matching up against two teams and coaches who have high-level post-season experience, and one silly argument and ejection could send them packing.
Warriors once again show their dominance over the Nuggets
Lest you worry that I’m railing on our guys too much, I’m about to give them some major praise in the next section. But, it’s important to keep tabs on the big picture.
Listen, let’s be real, the Warriors are currently a better team than the Nuggets. They’re bigger, they’re more consistent, and they have far more experience. So that’s why I’m not too bummed that the Nuggets dropped this game to the defending champs. I think this loss seemed more exaggerated only because the Nuggets had just lost to Washington—to go from that to a smack-down quite frankly stinks.
But, it’s okay. Actually, I think it’s good.
You see, in order for the Nuggets to be the incredible history-making team they can be, they’ll need to go through some trials. You can’t ever learn if you don’t lose, and what better training for them than to get a beat down from the best? It’s these types of games that will teach them the invaluable lessons they’ll be able to use to become champions one day.
Nuggets win over both teams they look to match up with in the pose-season
And now the good news.
This past week, the Nuggets squarely defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder, and book-ended their losses by routing the San Antonio Spurs. The Thunder sit 1.5 games behind the Los Angeles Clippers at 7th place, while the Spurs are another .5 behind that holding the 8th slot.
The Clippers look to hold their 6th place position as they’ve been performing very well lately going 8-2 in the last 10 led by the sharp shooter the Nuggets gave up Danilo Gallinari. (One day I will get over this.)
While I don’t want to get too ahead of myself by looking forward to anything beyond the first round, I’m happy to see the Nuggets taking care of business against the teams they will likely meet in their first series.
And, even if the Clippers drop down a position, I like the Nuggets over them as well so I’d cautiously say they odds are in their favor. However, playoff basketball is quite a different game so anything could happen.
Entering the final week, it’s safe to say the Nuggets have FAR exceeded anything anyone could have hoped they would do this year, they should be incredibly proud of what they’ve accomplished in such a short time.
Now, they need to forget it and lock in to keep grinding in the post-season.