Out of all the time zones, I would say that Mountain Time is probably the worst for sports viewing. If I had to rank them I would say it goes Pacific Standard, Eastern Standard, Central, and then Mountain. Pacific, you pretty much never have to stay up past 11 pm to finish watching a sporting event, and early games are perfect for brunch. Eastern would come second because pretty much every sporting event is tailored around your spoiled asses. Central is fine I guess because when you get off of work from your 9-5 games are just starting. And Mountain is just kind of, like, there. Thats probably why your basketball teams get no love.
The Denver Nuggets have quietly been one of the best team basketball type of teams this season. They don't have any All-Stars, unless you count an older Paul Millsap. None of their players are in the top 25 in jersey sales in the NBA. They are the second youngest team among playoff contenders, yet they have played so well as a young team and are currently tied of the 8 seed. They are on the outside looking in due to tiebreakers, but they have a chance to play their way into the NBA Playoffs.
With a huge win at home over the Minnesota Timberwolves on national television, the Nuggets brought themselves one win closer to their first playoff appearance since the 2012 season. To go even deeper, they haven't won a playoff series since the 2008 season. But one decade later, they look to put on for the Mountain Timers and reach their first NBA Finals in their 50th season. The Nuggets play the Wolves in their final game of the season, which will most likely seal the fate for both of those teams. Achieving the 8 seed will set the up with a date with the best team in the league in the Houston Rockets.
The Pepsi Center is home to one of the best home-court advantages in the league. When you factor in the elevation, the Mountain Time, and the electric atmosphere, it is a tough place for any team to get a win. The Nuggets are 30-10 this season at home, which is the 4th best in the league. Their Offensive Rebound Percentage is 2nd best in the NBA, which creates more opportunities for themselves for a team that likes to shoot three pointers 36% of the time. They match up well against a deep team like the Rockets, and if they can get all of their wins at home, they will give themselves a chance in a Game 7. Gary Harris has shot 40% from three point land this season, and his hot shooting will give the Nuggets a high scoring victory over the Rockets and send shockwaves through the league.
The second round matchup might be the most uninteresting series in NBA history. A duel with the Utah Jazz, a matchup between two Mountain Time opponents, will probably only be watched by those team's fans. No disrespect, these teams are good, they are just not that interesting, if that makes sense. Yet here they are in round two, so who cares if the world is entertained. This series will be quick and somewhat easy. The Jazz are a defensive minded squad and the Nuggets play with pace and three point shooting. The veteran presence of Devin Harris, Wilson Chandler, and Paul Millsap will dominate the youth of the Jazz. Rudy Gobert will be virtually invisible on the offensive end and Ricky Rubio will get outplayed by Jamal Murray. The Nuggets will win the series in front of their home fans in Game 6 and reach the Western Conference Finals.
With the Portland Trail Blazers knocking off the injured Golden State Warriors, a matchup of division opponents will decide who represents the West in the NBA Finals. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum will not disappoint, they will carry their team throughout the entire series but the Nuggets will work to shut everyone else down. Nikola Jokic will show the world his versatility and will distribute the basketball to his shooters over a 7 game series. Being the leading scorer on the season, he will go shot for shot with the Blazers shooters and will average 40 points per game. The Nuggets are 5th in the NBA in shots from 3-10 feet, and they will use this to their advantage by being aggressive and living in the paint. Mason Plumlee will get revenge on his former team and hit a buzzer beating hook shot in Game 7 to send the Nuggets to their first NBA Finals appearance in team history.
The Toronto Raptors finally find a way to end the reign of Lebron James, and will bring Drake with them to the NBA Finals. This is the perfect matchup for a hot shooting team like the Nuggets. Will Barton and Trey Lyles will create spacing on the floor and will shoot the lights out. Nikola Jokic will scoop up all of his shooters misses and will create enough second chance opportunities to allow his team to dominate the rebounds and the clock. The Nuggets will go undefeated at home throughout the entire postseason, and will defeat the Raptors in Game 7 to send the entire state of Colorado into one big smokefest. One small step for the Nuggets, one big step for Mountain Time.
Keep it lit Denver...
Just a man trying to make the most of his time on this planet.