The week before Christmas will have a playoff feel for the Denver Nuggets.
Starting with Tuesday’s home game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Nuggets face three teams in playoff position in the Western Conference standings. The upstart Phoenix Suns play in Denver on Friday, and the Nuggets travel to Los Angeles to face the Clippers on Saturday.
Here’s a quick look at each opponent:
Led by All-Star forward Kevin Durant, the Thunder (19-4) are second in the Western Conference and have won six straight games. The streak would be at 15 games if not for a loss at Portland on Dec. 4. The Nuggets lost to Oklahoma City at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Nov. 18.
Under first-year coach Jeff Hornacek and the backcourt tandem of Drew Bledsoe and Gorin Dragic, the Suns (14-9) are one of the surprise teams in the NBA. They remained sixth in the West and ran their win streak to five games by beating the Golden State Warriors on Sunday. The Nuggets lost to Phoenix at US Airways Center on Nov. 8.
Behind the consistent play of All-Star point guard Chris Paul (19.7 points, 11.5 assists), the Clippers are fourth in the West. Paul scored 38 points to cap L.A.’s seven-game Eastern road trip. The Nuggets and Clippers will be meeting for the first time this season. Denver won the season series 2-1 in 2012-13.