Is No. 1 seed in the West still up for grabs?

As if the West needed to get wackier. 

While the lion’s share of the conversation regarding the Western Conference has been about the logjam in the second half of the standings, a recent three-game losing streak by the West’s top-seed, the Denver Nuggets, has added some intrigue at the top of the standings. 

As of Wednesday, the top-seeded Nuggets — with 13 games left to play — still held a four-game lead over the second-seeded Memphis Grizzlies and a five-game lead over the third-seeded Sacramento Kings

However, it’s still important to look at what’s ahead — and what’s been happening as of late.


Denver is in the midst of its longest losing streak of the season, having previously only lost consecutive games three times this season. What’s more alarming is that three of its four straight losses have come against either current non-playoff teams (Chicago, San Antonio), or teams barely within the playoff bubble (Toronto). 

In addition, two of those four losses have come at home. Prior to their home loss to Chicago on Mar. 8, the Nuggets were 30-4 on their home floor.

And lastly, the Nuggets have surrendered 123 points per night in those four losses. For context, the Spurs, owners of the worst defense in the league, allow 121.9 points per game on the season.

Now, let’s look ahead. 

Of the Nuggets’ 13 remaining games, eight are on the road, including dates against Detroit, New York, Brooklyn, Washington, Phoenix (twice), Houston and Utah.

Denver is currently 16-17 on the road.

One silver lining for Denver is that it is 13-8 against its remaining opponents. However, those five home games feature matchups against the league’s best team Milwaukee, the East’s third seed Philadelphia, playoff contender New Orleans, playoff contender Golden State and playoff lock Sacramento.

As of Wednesday, the Nuggets have the 11th toughest remaining schedule. Memphis has the 29th and Sacramento has the 17th.

Memphis has eight home games and seven road games remaining, while the Kings have six home games remaining and nine road games. The Grizzlies are 28-5 at home and 13-21 on the road. Sacramento is 21-14 at home and 19-13 on the road.

Thursday, Denver will face off with the 16-54 Pistons — a team that handed the Nuggets one of their six home losses on the season.

In other words, the West hasn’t been won — at least not yet. 

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