If someone told me that the Dallas Mavericks would be competing for the 8th seed in the Western conference back in December, I would’ve laughed and asked whether they were tanking for the first or second overall pick. In January, the Mavs turned everything around, picking up nine wins along with two more in February making them 12-5 since the new year. If someone told me that the Mavericks are competing for the 8th seed in the Western conference now I wouldn’t doubt it. With Dirk Nowitzki on the edge of retirement and a team full of no names, other than ex-Warrior Harrison Barnes, the Mavericks could use a playoff run right about now. The Denver Nuggets are also looking for a rewarding and much needed playoff run to help keep vets, land stars, and give the rookies a little playoff experience too.
The Nuggets and Mavs were tied 1-1 so far this season until last night’s game. Denver prevailed with effective defense, keeping Dallas to only 87 points while scoring 110. Will “The Thrill” Barton was quite a show, putting up 31 points which was important due to the absence of Kenneth Faried (personal matters), the injured Danilo Gallinari (left groin strain), and Emmanuel Mudiay (lower back pain). Gary Harris and Wilson Chandler combined for a total of 34 points and the Nuggets as a whole had 49 rebounds, 10 blocks, and an overall field goal percentage of 50. This is just the defense and offense the Nuggets need to be capitalizing on and performing at a constant rate. One issue they had last year that is definitely improving this year is their three point percentage. The Nuggets have now generated a top ten offense and developed a successful defensive scheme that needs to be maintained through the rest of the season.
If all goes well and Denver can stay healthy, the 8th seed can surely be theirs. Who knows? Maybe this season they can crawl up to the 7th or 6th seed, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. After their win at home against the Dallas Mavericks, the Nuggets move onto a three game road trip with Atlanta first on the list followed by New York and Cleveland. This is the part when I say, “this is an important stretch for Denver’s playoff run,” but it’s starting to sound like that before every stretch of away games so here it goes.
This stretch of games is important to their playoff run.
The Denver Nuggets have had previous success against the Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks but the Cleveland Caveliers will be an interesting match up. Ever since the Kyle Korver pickup, the Cavs have looked a little mixed up but make no mistake, this will not be an easy win for the Nuggets. This game will be a back-to-back for the Nuggets, the Cavs are still a top five team, and they are the reigning champions if you didn’t already know.
The 8th seed is starting to become a close race and I would hate to watch the Nuggets cough it up in the second half of the season. Hopefully after this stretch and All-Star week, the Nuggets can come back strong to finish out the remainder of the season in a playoff spot. The Denver Nuggets are in Atlanta to take on the Hawks tonight.