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Week Ahead: Tall task awaits Nuggets

Denver facing All-Star big men in all four games over seven-day stretch


This week’s Nuggets schedule could be sponsored by the Department of the Interior.

Starting with Monday night’s game against All-Star forward Kevin Love and the Minnesota Timberwolves at Pepsi Center, Denver’s big men will be tested over a seven-day stretch.

After contending with Love, the Nuggets face 12-time All-Star forward Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks at home Wednesday, followed by Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol on Friday.

The week concludes Sunday when Denver opens a five-game road trip against the New Orleans Pelicans, led by first-time All-Star center Anthony Davis.

“That’s why they call it the NBA,” Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said. “No boys allowed.”

Here’s a quick look at each opponent:


Minnesota Timberwolves Logo

Minnesota

The Timberwolves (29-29) own the Western Conference’s seventh-best point differential (+4.1), yet they are 5½ games behind Dallas for the eighth and final playoff spot. Love continues to lead the way; his streak of four straight games with at least 30 points and 10 rebounds ended Saturday when he had a modest 22 and 10 against the Sacramento Kings.


Dallas Mavericks Logo

Dallas

After missing the playoffs for the first time in 13 years last season, the Mavericks (36-24) are back in the hunt. Dallas has lost two in a row but is still 10-4 since Jan. 31 to move within a half-game of the sixth spot in the West.

 


Los Angeles Lakers Logo

Los Angeles

It’s been a struggle all season without the services of perennial All-Star guard Kobe Bryant, but the Lakers play hard, which makes them tough to face on any given night. Over the past three weeks, they have recorded single-digit losses to playoff contenders Chicago, Oklahoma City, Brooklyn and Memphis.


New Orleans Pelicans Logo

New Orleans

The Pelicans took a seven-game losing streak into Monday night’s game against the Sacramento Kings. Despite the results, it’s been a breakthrough season for Davis, who is one of five players averaging at least 20 points and 10 rebounds.