April 1, 2012; Orlando FL, USA; Denver Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson (3) shoots as Orlando Magic power forward Glen Davis (11) attempted to defend during the first half at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
The Denver Nuggets final six games are not a walk in the park. Four are on the road, and five are against above .500 teams.
At Houston (Monday): The Rockets are falling apart down the stretch. The Goran Dragic-project was similar to the Jeremy Lin-impact, but the magic is wearing off. Houston has dropped its past three games, all three of which were big games in the playoff race. Denver has won in Houston once before (117-105, March 2) and have won 2 of 3 against the Rockets.
Los Angeles Clippers (Wednesday): This may be one of the Nuggets most important games of the season. Not because of playoff implications, but because this will be a good chance to see how they do against a top-tier playoff team. Denver has won its last five home games. However, the Clippers have won four of their last five road games – including road wins against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Minnesota Timberwolves. The Clippers have also already won in Denver (109-105) back in February and have won 2 of 3 against the Nuggets.
At Phoenix (Saturday): This is another key game for Denver down the stretch. The Nuggets have already beaten the Suns twice, but both games were in Denver – not Phoenix, where the Suns are 17-11 and have won 10 of their last 12 at home – including beat the Lakers on April 7. The Nuggets on the other hand haven’t beaten a Western Conference foe on the road since March 4, when they beat San Antonio.
Orlando (Sunday): This may be the Nuggets easiest games for the stretch run. They have already beaten the Magic once in Orlando (104-101), and once again they probably won’t have to face Dwight Howard.
At Oklahoma City (April 25): If there is one team that has had Denver’s number this season it is the Thunder. The Nuggets have dropped both their games to the Thunder this season. They have also lost the previous six games in Oklahoma City. The good news for the Nuggets is Oklahoma City may not be playing for anything and may rest its starters.
At Minnesota (April 26) : The Timberwolves are free falling, they have dropped their last nine games and its tough to see Minnesota ending the slide – especially with Kevin Love hurt. Denver is 2-1 against the Timberwolves, with Minnesota’s win coming at home at the Target Center. Love had 30 points and 21 rebounds in the win.
Born and raised in the beautiful state of Colorado, Jonathan R. Maness grew up in the days of Broncos' great John Elway and Nuggets' greats Laphonso 'The Fonz' Ellis. As a lifelong Nuggets fan, he has followed the Denver Nuggets through the worst of times (and there were a lot of them) and currently through the best of times. This 30-year-old sports journalist has had the honor of taking photos of the Nuggets home games from the comforts of the Pepsi Center's floor. In his free time he works on the Sports Copy Desk at the Fort Collins Coloradoan.