April 7, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Ty Lawson (3) dribbles the ball against the Golden State Warriors in the first quarter at ORACLE Arena. The Warriors defeated the Nuggets 112-97. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE
Coming off a dispiriting 15-point loss to Golden State on Saturday night, the Nuggets host Golden State with playoff position on the line.
As the extended game of musical chairs that is the NBA's Western Conference playoff race continues, the Denver Nuggets now find themselves clinging to the eighths seed, a game behind the Houston Rockets for the sixth seed, a half a game behind the Dallas Mavericks for the seventh seed and a game ahead of the Phoenix Suns for that final seed.
The Nuggets, disconcertingly, have had serious trouble recently when playing some of the worst the NBA has to offer. Their last six games have featured losses to the Toronto Raptors, New Orleans Hornets, and, most recently, the same Golden State Warriors team that they will host tonight in Denver. The Warriors have been one of the worst and most dysfunctional teams in the NBA since the All Star break, with a widely held belief (though unconfirmed) that the franchise is tanking in order to save its first round draft pick, which would go to the Utah Jazz if it feel outside of the top seven.
But Golden State wiped the Nuggets out by 15 points on Saturday, thanks to 44 combined points from bench players Brandon Rush, Nate Robinson and Richard Jefferson. The Nuggets were once thought to have one of the deepest benches in the league, but injuries have erased that notion, and Denver has been feeling the effects of having to give major minutes to players like Jordan Hamilton and Kosta Koufos.
In order for Denver to defeat the Warriors tonight, they'll need to rebound better and rediscover their stroke from behind the arc, which are two areas that have been lacking as they try and move up the West pecking order while also not suddenly finding themselves on the outside looking in.
Game date/time: 7:00 p.m. MT
Location: Pepsi Center, Denver, Colo.
Odds: Denver by 9
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