Now that the All-Star festivities are wrapped up it is time for the Denver Nuggets to get focused on the playoffs and the brutal remaining schedule.
The Denver Nuggets have just 12 of the of the final 25 games in the friendly confines of Pepsi Center, where they hold the league’s best home record. There are two left with the Oklahoma City Thunder, hot on Denver’s heels for the second seed. Two more with the Warriors, a back-to-back with Portland. Two with the Jazz, the Rockets in Houston and a pair with the Pacers are certainly going to test these young Nuggets.
The good news is that Denver is virtually assured a playoff spot at this point and with the volatility of the West, seeding doesn’t give much advantage. If the Nuggets can finish in the top-4, they will secure home court for the first round, imperative to a young team wanting to win Denver’s first playoff series since 2009.
Coach Michael Malone, on his way to Charlotte to coach team LeBron in the All-Star game, made a point to declare that the Nuggets would be healthy coming out of the All-Star Break. That means Gary Harris is back and we can only hope that he’s recovered fully from the recurring core injuries that have plagued his season.
Expectations are high but this Nuggets team unlike it’s predecessors seems up to the task. Nikola Jokic is otherworldly and seems to be getting better. Isaiah Thomas is back, the Nuggets are in the best position they’ve been in all season and they are second in the West.
What can they do to hold that position and prepare themselves for the NBA playoffs?