A simple truth has begun to reveal itself about the Denver Nuggets this season. The team must win the games they are supposed to win from here on out.
Playing in the Western Conference can be seen as a blessing and a curse depending on what you want out of being an NBA fan. Playing against the best competition the league has to offer makes for more satisfying wins and losses in my opinion. I will take a tough loss against the San Antonio Spurs or the Oklahoma City Thunder in which the Nuggets play hard and come up just short over a blow-out victory against the weaker competition that the Eastern Conference seems to field each year.
But be that as it may, the Nuggets need to start winning the games they are supposed to win if they have any thoughts of making it to the postseason tournament.
Enter the Philadelphia 76ers.
The 76ers are 9-21, a record that has them tied for the second worst record in the East. Denver is in the midst of a seven-game losing streak and must get themselves out by any means necessary. That means going out and beating a sub .500 team at home.
For the Nuggets, making the playoffs will mean beating all the teams that they should along with a few teams that they technically shouldn’t. Without Danillo Gallinari and JaVale McGee in the lineup we will never know how good this Nuggets team could be, but without them the team needs to avoid being as bad as they can be.
This team can’t afford to play up or down to its competition. The only way this team makes it into the postseason is to win these 76ers-type games. Beat the bad teams and compete against the good ones – that is how you have a successful season, especially in the rough and tumble Western Conference.