Without sneaking a peek at the current NBA standings, tell me the top four seeds in the Western Conference entering Saturday night’s games.
The top three are gimmes. The Spurs, Thunder and Clippers have each taken turns at No. 1 this season.
Here’s a hint for the No. 4 seed: This team has the NBA’s best record in 2013.
With their schedule finally balanced, the Denver Nuggets are serious contenders for home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Saddled with arguably the league’s most turbulent schedule this season, Denver played 17 of its first 23 games on the road.
After surviving that opening gauntlet with a respectable 11-12 record, and having now played 25 games both home and on the road, the Nuggets stood 32-18 and rode an eight-game winning streak into Saturday night’s game at Cleveland.
In a nationally televised 128-96 rout against the Chicago Bulls (29-20 at the time) on Thursday night, Denver shot 58.1 percent from the field, collected 15 layups and 14 dunks, and outran this running of the Bulls 23-6 in fast-break points.
It was the Nuggets’ most lopsided home victory ever against Chicago, the previous being a 25-point win on Feb. 9, 1990.
Since Jan. 1, Denver has the NBA’s best record at 15-3 (see chart). The Nuggets are 22-3 at the Pepsi Center, a home mark surpassed only by the Spurs (22-2) and Thunder (23-3).
Denver’s offense possesses a deadly combination of being second in assists (23.9), second in rebounds (45.4) and third in points (104.7).
“People don’t respect us as much because we are not on TV as much,” said Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried, who will compete in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest on Saturday in Houston. “I guess we’re not as big of a broadcast team like the Clippers and the Lakers and the Knicks. I think we made a statement tonight on TNT and showed everybody like, ‘Hey, notice us. Pay attention. We are out here.’ ”