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

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  • The Nuggets screwed the pooch with the loss to Washington. Teams generally have bad losses here or there, but the Nuggets lost this game at the worst time, dropping to within three losses of both the Blazers and Rockets. With Denver’s remaining schedule featuring five games against West playoff teams, the Nuggets made things challenging for themselves and have no one else to blame if they drop to 3rd or 4th in the standings.
  • It looks like the Los Angeles Clippers will be the 5th or 6th seed this year, likely 6th. That would be a decent consolation prize if the Nuggets ended up falling to 3rd or 4th, but Denver could just as easily play the Utah Jazz in this scenario, and that would be their toughest matchup in a first round series.

FiveThirtyEight projects the playoff order as follows:

  1. Golden State: 57-25
  2. Denver: 54-28
  3. Houston: 53-29
  4. Portland: 52-30
  5. Utah: 51-31 (will likely own tiebreaker over Portland due to division record)
  6. Los Angeles: 49-33
  7. San Antonio: 47-35 (will likely own tiebreaker over OKC due to head-to-head record)
  8. Oklahoma City: 47-35

Updated magic number scenarios for the Nuggets are as follows:

  • Home court advantage in the first round = 2 combined Nuggets wins and Jazz losses
  • Home court in the first and second rounds = 4 combined Nuggets wins and Rockets losses
  • Top seed in the Western Conference = 7 combined Nuggets wins and Warriors losses with tiebreaker, 8 without out tiebreaker

Games to watch tonight

Los Angeles Lakers vs Oklahoma City Thunder — 6:00 pm MST

Who to root for: Oklahoma City. It’s time for the Thunder to start winning games to force the San Antonio Spurs into the 8 seed. The Thunder are floundering, but they have time to turn things around and should get it started against a Lakers team bereft of talent.

Atlanta Hawks vs San Antonio Spurs — 6:30 pm MST

Who to root for: Atlanta. The Hawks are legit now for some reason, and Trae Young is at the center of it. Luka Doncic is still my rookie of the year, but Young has made the conversation more interesting (though the Hawks are and have been playing for nothing for awhile).

Houston Rockets vs Sacramento Kings — 8:00 pm MST

Who to root for: Sacramento. If there was ever a time for the Kings to surprise some people, this is the time. These two teams played over the weekend in Houston, and it’s hard for teams to sweep the home-and-home matchup. The Nuggets should be sending their prayers Sacramento’s way.

Denver Nuggets vs Golden State Warriors — 8:30 pm MST

Who to root for: The good guys. This is Denver’s last chance to get the 1 seed if that is still the goal. The Warriors are playing their best ball right now though, and the Nuggets are playing some of their worst. Can the Nuggets go into Golden State and surprise the champs? I doubt it.