Playoff Push: For teams ruled by offensive direction, elimin

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» Thu Apr 10, 2008 2:20 am
Eeekkkk I'm nervous...

It's been said already, and it will be uttered with increasing frequency in the days ahead.

It feels like the playoffs have started.

With another big West showdown coming Thursday night, pitting the league's two highest-scoring teams, the Golden State Warriors and the Denver Nuggets, one has to think that what promises to be a dramatic postseason unofficially kicks off with this contest.

The stakes are high, with these two teams in all likelihood vying for one playoff spot, the No. 8 seed. This is assuming Dallas keeps its seventh-seed pace, which seems certain with Dirk Nowitzki back in the saddle again.

The Nuggets and Warriors are tied at 47-31 on the season, with three games remaining after Thursday night's final whistle blows in Oakland. To the winner goes the upper hand. Check out the road ahead:
Denver is at Utah on Saturday, home to Houston on Sunday night before wrapping up with a home game against Memphis on Wednesday. Sounds like a 2-1 finish, given the Jazz's home dominance.

Golden State hosts the Clippers on Saturday, plays at Phoenix on Monday, before finishing with Seattle at home on Wednesday. That also looks like a 2-1 finish as well, with the road game at Suns the likely L.

Those two schedules show how Thursday seems like the big one.

Denver can assure itself of the tiebreaker ownership against Golden State with a win, currently holding a 2-1 head-to-head advantage.

As it stands now, John Hollinger's playoff predictor gives the Warriors a 58.2 percent chance of making it, with Denver at 42.9. Dallas (49-29, current No. 7 seed) holds a two-game lead over both, and is given a 98.9 percent chance of making it.

For many reasons, Nuggets guard Allen Iverson is one to watch Thursday. He's shot 6-for-32 (18.8 percent) in his last two games against the Warriors.

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