With the playoffs out of reach, the Denver Nuggets must draw motivation from other sources over the season’s final two weeks.

“We have to bring it,” Denver coach Brian Shaw. “We want to finish this season strong. It’s a given that we’re not making the playoffs. It’s easy to let go of the rope. That’s the easy way out, but we don’t want to do that.

“We’re not letting anybody check out before the season is over. They all said that they’re in and they’re going to give it everything they have for the last nine games. That’s all we can ask of them.”

During the spring of 2004, the Denver Nuggets found themselves in unfamiliar territory – in the midst of a playoff race.

For a franchise that had won 17 games the previous season and hadn't reached the postseason in nine years, it was a welcome change for the players, the coaches, the front office and the team’s fan base.

Earl Boykins was among those enjoying every moment.

The Denver Nuggets couldn’t end San Antonio’s 14-game winning streak. In a quirk of the NBA schedule, they now have a chance to snap the Spurs’ 15-game streak.

Two days after their fourth-quarter comeback fell short in San Antonio, the Nuggets face the Spurs again on Friday night at Pepsi Center.

“We are seeing the team in a weird back-to-back kind of way,” Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said. “It’s almost like a little mini (playoff) series. “We’ll see if we can make any adjustments to what they did.”

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