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:
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.
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.
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.
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.