The Denver Nuggets have won eight in a row and have climbed to the number four seed in the Western Conference. That fourth seed is important because it means home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs, something the Nuggets have not enjoyed very often. Until a couple of weeks ago it looked like the fourth seed would be the ceiling for the Nuggets, but now the third seed is well within reach. The Los Angeles Clippers currently hold that spot but they are fading, and the Nuggets are only two and a half games behind them.
The Nuggets face a four game road trip before the All-Star break next weekend, and it is vital that they keep the momentum heading into that break. They do not need to win all four, although that’s possible the way they are playing. If the Nuggets can win three out of four and head into the break at 35-19, then they are set up for the stretch run. A 2-2 mark would be acceptable, anything less than that and the momentum takes a hit.
The two games the Nuggets have to win are Saturday night versus the Cleveland Cavaliers and Tuesday versus the Toronto Raptors. Both of those teams are struggling this season with 15 and 17 wins respectively. The Cavaliers do have point guard, Kyrie Irving who is playing great but that is still a game that the Nuggets have to get on the road. The same can be said about the Raptors, they are an NBA team but they are also a team the Nuggets have to beat if they are serious contenders. Road wins in the NBA are tough to get, the Nuggets have to beat the teams they are supposed to beat.
The other two teams on the road trip at the Boston Celtics on Sunday and the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, a split for the Nuggets here would do just fine. The Celtics are playing very well and have won six in a row themselves. The Nets are also a decent team in the Eastern Conference and both of those games are the second of back-to-back nights for the Nuggets.
The Nuggets have worked hard to get into the position they are in and do not want to give anything back before the All-Star break. Sometimes teams start to coast in anticipation of that break, the Nuggets cannot be one of those teams.
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