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NBA Snapshot Series: March 1, 2020

The West playoff picture with a Nuggets focus

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Denver Nuggets Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA Snapshot series was created as a playoff check-in for Denver Nuggets fans. Every game matters as the regular season comes to a close and the playoff bracket constantly changes. These posts will help inform Nuggets fans of the week’s games, providing an update on the standings and which teams to root for from game to game.


Standings Update

  • The Nuggets received very little help in the standings this week. The New Orleans Pelicans lost to the Los Angeles Lakers twice, the Boston Celtics choked against the Houston Rockets, and Denver didn’t do themselves any favors when they got smoked by the Los Angeles Clippers. The Nuggets are officially closer to the seventh seeded Dallas Mavericks than they are the top seeded Lakers at this point.
  • With Denver’s loss to the LA Clippers on Friday night, the two teams are now tied in the standings and tied 1-1 in their head-to-head matchups. The only reason the Nuggets currently sit in the two seed is their better conference record. The reckoning for these two teams will come soon though, as the Clippers will travel to Denver on March 18th for the third and final game between the two teams. Whoever wins that game has the inside track at a top three seed.
  • The divide between the seventh seeded Mavericks and eighth seeded Memphis Grizzlies is vast. Big enough to the point that Denver can start preparing for a playoff series against one of the teams that reside in the third to seventh seed range.
  • The Phoenix Suns were dropped off the above chart after they lost at home to the M.A.S.H. unit Golden State Warriors that started former Suns’ forwards Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender. That’s unequivocally hilarious.

Projected Playoff Order, via FiveThirtyEight

  1. Los Angeles Lakers: 62-20
  2. Los Angeles Clippers: 57-25
  3. Houston Rockets: 56-26
  4. Denver Nuggets: 55-27
  5. Utah Jazz: 50-32
  6. Dallas Mavericks: 49-33
  7. Oklahoma City Thunder: 49-33
  8. New Orleans Pelicans: 40-42

*Updated playoff scenarios as related to Magic Numbers will be introduced on Monday, March 16th, roughly one month until the end of the 2019-20 regular season

Most important games to watch during the week:

(all times are designated mountain timezone)

Monday

No games of note. Go stock up on antibacterial soap for the off day.

Tuesday

Los Angeles Clippers at Oklahoma City Thunder: Tuesday, March 3rd @ 6:00pm

The return of Paul George to Oklahoma City after he demanded a trade last offseason. This should be an interesting battle. The Thunder don’t have the size on the wing to deal with George or Kawhi Leonard, but OKC likes to use three guards anyway and should be able to score despite the size disadvantage.

Golden State Warriors at Denver Nuggets: Tuesday, March 3rd @ 7:00pm

The Nuggets just missed Stephen Curry’s return from injury. No matter. I’m looking forward to Juan Toscano-Anderson catching fire for 42 points in his stead.

Wednesday

New Orleans Pelican at Dallas Mavericks: Wednesday, March 4th @ 7:30pm

Zion versus Luka. Need I say more?

Thursday

Denver Nuggets at Charlotte Hornets: Thursday, March 5th @ 5:00pm

***Early game alert***

Make sure to make arrangements to see this game in time. There aren’t a lot of exciting things going on with the Hornets, but Devonte’ Graham and Terry Rozier like to shoot the basketball. This is a Torrey Craig game.

Los Angeles Clippers at Houston Rockets: Thursday, March 5th @ 6:00pm

A massively important game for Nuggets fans to keep an eye on. Both of these teams are fighting for a top three seed. Fortunately, one of them has to lose this game which should help the Nuggets out in the standings. I would probably root for a Rockets victory, as distasteful as that sounds. It’s important to push the Lakers and Clippers into the same side of the playoff bracket.