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By Kasey Richardson
/ CBS Colorado
With less than a month remaining for the NBA regular season, CBS Sports is taking a serious look at the playoff picture and what to expect from the Denver Nuggets.
CBS Sports writer, Colin Ward-Henninger,
No NBA team has ever beaten the previous three conference champions before the NBA Finals, according to CBS Sports research. Led by top MVP candidate, Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets may have to make history in order to reach the Finals this postseason.
Ward-Henninger says the Nuggets winning the West is all but a foregone conclusion as they currently lead the second place Sacramento Kings and third place Memphis Grizzlies by six games as of Friday night.
Barring disaster, the Nuggets would have a date with the No. 8 seed in the first round of the playoffs, which would be the runner-up of the play-in tournament.
Since the Los Angeles Lakers are currently at No. 9, they would become the No. 8 seed and face Denver in the first round if they won both of their play-in tournament games. The Lakers are currently without LeBron James who suffered an ankle injury on Feb. 26 against the Dallas Mavericks, as there is no current timetable for his return.
If the Nuggets defeat the Lakers, their next opponent would possibly be Kevin Durant and the new-look Phoenix Suns in the second round. Phoenix seems to be locked in for a No.4 seed placement as they were 2021’s Western Conference champs.
Finally, if Denver defeats the Suns, they could see the Warriors for the Conference Final as Golden State currently sits No. 7 in the West. Warriors guard Steph Curry just returned back to the floor from a shoulder injury, but the team has dropped three-straight games.
The Nuggets have 15 games left for the regular season and are looking to finish the season strong ahead of the anticipated playoffs.
Their next match-up is against the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. MST.
To read CBS Sports’ full prediction on the outcome of the NBA playoffs, click here: https://bit.ly/3FgKJ8l
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©2023 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.