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.
- The Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers swapped places in the standings this week with Denver’s loss to the Golden State Warriors, an unfortunate ramification for struggling against below .500 teams. Though it doesn’t necessarily mean anything in playoff strength, taking those games seriously means the world in postseason standings.
- Though Denver dropped to third place in the West, very little changes for them other than forgoing home court advantage in a possible second round series. Both the Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks would be formidable first round foes, and Denver may even prefer to face Oklahoma City and their guard trio over the Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis duo in Dallas.
- The Houston Rockets and Utah Jazz are once again locked in a 4-5 matchup, which is unequivocally hilarious for Nuggets fans. The best chance for the Nuggets to make an NBA Finals appearance may be to hope for the playoffs to break this way. Upset the Clippers in the second round and hope the Rockets and their micro-ball style can upset the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round. Either way, the Nuggets have a two game cushion in the loss column against both squads and would be wise to maintain that advantage.
Projected Playoff Order, via FiveThirtyEight
- Los Angeles Lakers: 62-20
- Los Angeles Clippers: 58-24
- Denver Nuggets - 55-27
- Houston Rockets: 54-28
- Utah Jazz: 51-31
- Dallas Mavericks: 49-33
- Oklahoma City Thunder: 49-33
- New Orleans Pelicans: 39-43
*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 weekend:
(all times are designated mountain timezone)
Utah Jazz at Boston Celtics @ 6:00pm
The Celtics just beat the Jazz in Salt Lake City on national TV. Since then, the Jazz have won three in a row against the Washington Wizards, Cleveland Cavaliers, and New York Knicks. Those are some cakewalk games, and it’s time to see if the Jazz have actually bounced back or not. This is a real test against a potential Eastern Conference Finals squad.
Milwaukee Bucks at Los Angeles Lakers @ 8:30pm
The game of the night. Giannis Antetokounmpo versus LeBron James in a battle of MVP frontrunner versus distant MVP runner-up. The Bucks will be going into LA looking for blood because that’s who they are, and they have the rim protection to really give the Lakers’ interior offense problems. This could be an NBA Finals preview, and it’s something every Nuggets fan should consider watching.
Denver Nuggets at Cleveland Cavaliers @ 5:30pm
Will Michael Porter Jr. play? That’s the ultimate question. I’ve vouched for Michael Malone and have said he will eventually come around to playing the rookie forward, but it’s getting more difficult to envision Malone trusting him to play more than 10 minutes in any playoff game with the way things are operating right now.
Los Angeles Lakers at Los Angeles Clippers @ 1:30pm
Will there be any national media in attendance for this game?