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Nuggets Lack “Incentive” to Win Against Blazers

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NBA.com contributor Shaun Powell detailed today’s contest between the Nuggets and Trail Blazers.

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

The final day of the NBA’s 2020-21 regular season has arrived and the Portland Trail Blazers’ postseason position is far from decided. Portland’s schedule concludes with a contest against Denver. For the Blazers, a win earns a playoff berth that bypasses the play-in tournament. The Nuggets, who are already in the clear when it comes to the play-in portion, are in position to finesse their first-round matchup.

NBA.com contributor Shaun Powell detailed the decision the Nuggets face on Sunday.

What’s more intriguing is the lack of incentive for the Nuggets to win and capture the No. 3 seed. That would mean a first-round series with the Lakers, assuming the defending champions beat the Pelicans Sunday. Does Denver really want LeBron James and Anthony Davis this early — and without Jamal Murray’s help? The better alternative is losing and getting the Mavericks in the first round instead. Therefore, it’ll be interesting to witness how the Nuggets approach this game, and if, as expected, they rest Nikola Jokic — who hasn’t missed a game all season — and other starters to (wink-wink) preserve them for the playoffs (which don’t start for another week, which is plenty of time for rest).

The Nuggets enter Sunday’s matchup against the Blazers on a three-game winning streak. The Blazers would finish the season with a 42-30 record if they emerge victorious today.

You can read Powell’s full breakdown of today’s action by clicking here.