NBA Faceoff: Nuggets’ star quality, mental prowess is key

The Denver Nuggets are going to win the West eight playoff seed.

Enough said.

Heading into the final stretch of the regular season both the Nuggets and the Golden State Warriors have identical 41-37 records. But the Nuggets have more reason to smile as the season winds down.

The first reason is star power. Although the Warriors are lightening quick on offense and pesky on the defensive end, the only bona fide star on the team is Baron Davis. The Nuggets have two big-time players with the potential to take over a game by themselves.

The combination of Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony makes for a winning recipe. Iverson’s points per game are 26.3 while his assists are 7.3. Anthony has 26.1 points per game whereas his rebounds per game are 7.4. Both are top 10 scorers and Iverson has been able to become a facilitator and a threat in the Nuggets offense.

The Nuggets are 7-3 in their last 10 games. The losses to Portland and Seattle hurt, but they did beat competitors such as the New Jersey Nets, the Toronto Raptors, the Memphis Grizzlies and the Sacramento Kings.

The Nuggets are also facing a schedule that is tough but could prove to be winnable.

Coming up for the Nuggets are games against the Utah Jazz, the Houston Rockets and the Grizzlies. The Nuggets will struggle against Utah’s defense but may be able to outscore the Rockets for a win. And the Grizzlies won’t prove much of a challenge.

The Warriors also have a pretty easy schedule ahead of them with easy possible wins over Seattle and the Clippers, but will certainly lose to Phoenix.

The determining factor coming down the stretch will be metal toughness, which the Nuggets have more of. Kenyon Martin has been playing at a high level as of late and J.R. Smith has found his stroke from long range. The Nuggets are proven playoff performers and are ready to actually compete for that No. 1 spot.