The Denver Nuggets defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 113-97 on Friday night, with Nikola Jokic recording another triple-double. He finished the game with 18 points, 18 rebounds, and 10 assists. The Nuggets are now 25-0 overall as a result of Jokic’s triple-double.
But, for once, the night’s main plot did not centre on Jokic’s prowess in the game. Instead, it’s the fact that, despite the fact that there are still five weeks left in the regular season, the Nuggets have most certainly secured the top seed in the Western Conference.
Jokic added, “I don’t worry [about getting even for Denver’s loss to Memphis last month]. “Winning was crucial, especially since it was at home and in front of the best crowd. We had to carry out that.”
In the battle for the top spot, the Nuggets now lead the Grizzlies by a six-game margin. Furthermore, this victory gave them the advantage in the tiebreaker between the two teams, effectively giving them a seven-game advantage. With only 18 games left for the Nuggets and 20 games left for the Grizzlies, it would be challenging to overcome that deficit at any point in the season.
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Denver has only had three losing streaks all season: a two-game skid in November, a three-game streak in December, and a two-game streak in January. They also have a manageable remaining schedule.
There may be doubts about their ability to succeed in the postseason, but it is already obvious that this club is geared towards dominating the regular season.
Outside of the Nuggets’ potential to be the top seed in the West, it’s still too early to predict much about the postseason. The gaps between the Nos. 4 through 8 seeds are three games, and the gaps between the Nos. 9 through 13 seeds are an additional 1.5 games.
Although clubs like the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns will be unusual “low seeds,” injuries and mid-season deals will add another wrinkle.
In any case, this is the Nuggets’ finest opportunity to capture a championship in a long time.
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