First of all, the Nuggets have to continue to play like Golden State has already played, and won, all three of their last games.
Now, with that being said, what I most likely see happening is Golden State finishing 2-1 in their last three games which include a home game with the Clippers on Saturday, a road game against the Suns on Monday, and another home game against the Sonics on Wednesday. The road test against the Suns is going to be the game I think Nellie and company will lose simply because the Suns’ momentum is at an all-time high since acquiring Shaq, but nevertheless, I just don’t see the Warriors, losers of nine out of their last 16 games, running the table. And if you listen closely… you can almost here Don Nelson lobbying to change how the playoffs get structured.
That leaves the Nuggets in need of at least one win of which I think they are most likely to have in their back pocket already with Memphis coming to town on Wednesday. There’s just no way that if, and when, the Nuggets’ postseason birth depends on winning that game anyone wearing Memphis on the front of their attire is getting out of Mile High City with a W let alone their lives. Not at Pepsi Center where the Nuggets have been a fantastic 31-8 so far, not with that kind of atmosphere from the fans, and not with the kind of players that can elevate their games the way AI and ‘Melo can.
So, that essentially makes the first of the remaining two home games (Sunday against the Rockets) the game that needs to be played like it's for all the marbles. Whatever happens in Utah happens (and I hope we destroy them and snatch the parking lot cash on the way out of town - how's that for "Thuggary", My Utah Jazz), but the Nuggets’ season at this point basically boils down to a two-game home stand. The Memphis game has got to be looked at like an insurance policy only if the Warriors don’t end up running the table. But remember, for all intents and purposes, the Warriors have already won out and are sitting at, 50-32, thus leaving the Houston match-up as the pivotal game.
As for Denver the mission is simple: Take care of business at home and a brand new season starts next weekend. If they do so it will be the fifth year in a row the Nuggets have made the playoffs (also making the franchise a perennial playoff team since drafting 'Melo in '03), a 50-win season for the first time since the 1987-88 season, the first five-year span of consecutive winning seasons in franchise history, and hopefully a chance to make upset history, again, as the eighth seed in the NBA Playoffs.