With the Utah Jazz's 100-88 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night, the Western Conference playoff teams are set. The seedings however are still up for grabs, but the one team in the bottom tier that controls its own destiny is the Denver Nuggets.
SB Nation's Tom Ziller laid out the West playoff picture, and as it pertains to the Nuggets, it can be very simple: win out, and get the sixth seed and a match up with the Los Angeles Lakers. The Nuggets have two games left, one vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder and another against the Minnesota Timberwolves, and with neither team having anything to play for, Denver could certainly win out.
The Dallas Mavericks, who currently stand a spot behind Denver at No. 7, have the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Nuggets but only have a game remaining against the Atlanta Hawks. A Dallas loss would allow Denver to grab the No. 6 seed by splitting its final two games, but if the Mavs win, the pressure would be on Denver to win two games and avoid the Thunder in the first round.
The Jazz also have a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Nuggets, and a Utah win in their final regular season game against the Portland Trail Blazers combined with the Nuggets dropping their final two games would mean that Denver would slip all the way to No. 8. But with the Thunder likely resting some of its players and the floundering Timberwolves left for the Nuggets, that seems like the most unlikely scenario.
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