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Two NBA writers list Nuggets among dream NBA playoff matchups

Mar 21, 2024, 1:47 PM

The Denver Nuggets had a dream title run last season—not only capturing the franchise’s first ring but never even facing elimination on the way, plus notching the club’s first sweet and first win over the Los Angeles Lakers in a postseason series.

But what about this year, what would the dream be? Aside from a title of course—what path would be the most dramatic or cathartic or maybe even just be the best basketball? NBA.com asked this question of their writers on Thursday and two of them listed the Nuggets among their dream matchups across the entire NBA postseason.

Right now the Nuggets are fighting for the one-seed in the West, at 48-21 Denver is a half-game back of Oklahoma City and one game up on Minnesota. Only three wins separate the fourth-place team to the eighth-place one while the ninth and tenth seeds for the play-in seem locked in. With exactly a month until the NBA playoffs start, it’s too soon to get into the specifics of what Denver’s path could look like. Though as the reigning champions and reigning regular season winners of the West, many people think the Nuggets will come out on top in the 82 and then go deep in the postseason.

Finishing with a high seed is required for Brian Martin’s dream NBA playoff matchup—which would see the Nuggets replay the Phoenix Suns. The two teams met in the 2023 playoffs and the Arizona squad was the only one to score multiple wins off Denver in the playoffs. Those victories happened because of giant games from Devin Booker and Kevin Durant, combing for 86 points and 72 points in Game 3 and Game 4 respectively. Now throw in a year of chemistry, a re-made bench and former NBA scoring champ Bradley Beal and the Suns would bring star-power to the doorstep of the ring holders. The only issue is the Suns have spent a lot of time sidelined so we haven’t actually seen Phoenix’s new big three against the reigning champs, which is why the Suns are 40-29, sitting eighth in the standings and in need of wins in the play-in tournament. Denver would have to finish first or second to get the Phoenix matchup if the season ended today.

To make Michael C. Wright’s dream come true, Denver would need to make the deepest run possible, a return trip to the NBA Finals. He wants to see the Nuggets play the Boston Celtics, the two teams who have clearly been the best in the league over the past few seasons. Boston has been to the Eastern Conference Finals or further in five of the last seven seasons but they’ve never won it all. This year the Celtics have rolled through the regular season and boast a starting-five that seems to be just as good as Denver’s. Though the Nuggets have beaten Boston both times the two teams have matched up during the regular season this year. No doubt it would be fireworks to see, Nikola Jokic against Kristaps Porzingis with Aaron Gordon on Jayson Tatum, Michael Porter Jr. squaring off against Jaylen Brown while Jamal Murray and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope battle Jrue Holiday and Colorado native Derrick White.

Personally, from an awesome basketball standpoint, I would love to see the Thunder and Nuggets in the conference finals. The series would feature MVP winner and runner-up Jokic and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in whatever order the award race goes. Plus, a young, fast and athletic OKC team that plays a far different style than the plotting Nuggets.

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Two NBA writers list Nuggets among dream NBA playoff matchups