Nuggets in NBA playoff run as West's No. 1 seed for the first time
The Denver Nuggets are stumbling into the NBA's postseason.
State of play: The team went 2-5 over their final seven games of the season but remained the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.
Between the lines: The Nuggets finished the regular season with a 53-29 record, going 34-7 at Ball Arena — noteworthy, since the team gets home court advantage in the West.
Catch up quick: Center Nikola Jokić made his case to win his third consecutive MVP award.
- He managed what Yahoo! Sports described as a "historically obscene" .701 true shooting percentage, making him one of the league's most efficient scorers while nearly averaging a triple-double.
What we're watching: Point guard Jamal Murray is the team's second leading scorer behind Jokić, and his presence this playoff series is a major reason why pundits think the Nuggets have a legitimate title shot.
- As the Denver Post points out, the Nuggets are 14-6 in postseason games since 2018 when he scores 20 or more points.
- Nuggets assistant coach David Adelman this year compared Murray's partnership with Jokić to the Utah Jazz era of John Stockton and Karl Malone.
Yes, but: It's a comparison that sours when you remember that the duo led the Jazz to back-to-back NBA Finals — but have no rings to show for it.
What's next: How well Denver fares in the playoffs against the 8th seed Minnesota Timberwolves.
Now, let's talk playoffs
The Nuggets are the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference for the first time in team history.
State of play: Denver is heavily favored in their first round matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves Sunday night at 8:30.
- The Nuggets split the regular season with the Timberwolves 2-2, losing in Minnesota twice. In February Denver thrashed the Wolves by scoring 49 points in a quarter to win 146-122.
Threat level: Though it's rare, 8th seeds can upset a top team.
- In fact, the Nuggets did it in 1994 when they beat the top-seeded SuperSonics, thanks to human swatting machine Dikembe Mutombo.
Yes, but: If (and when) the Nuggets succeed, waiting for them is the winner of the Phoenix Suns/Los Angeles Clippers matchup.
- The Suns went all in this year, acquiring superstar Kevin Durant to pair with center Deandre Ayton and multiple-time All-Stars Devin Booker and Chris Paul.
- The Clippers are led by championship winning coach Tyronn Lue and two-time Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.
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