The Denver Nuggets returned home without their long winning streak, but they still have a ton to play for, starting with Friday's tilt with the Brooklyn Nets.
The Nuggets' 15-game winning streak came to an end Monday night in New Orleans when the Hornets creamed the Nuggets 110-86. Two nights later, Denver started a new streak, a losing one thanks to a 100-99 setback to the San Antonio Spurs.
The Nuggets are in the thick of the ever-revolving top of the Western Conference playoff race. Denver is fourth, just one-half game behind the Los Angeles Clippers and one game ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies.
Denver is also 4 1/2 games behind the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Northwest Division title.
Against the Spurs, Andre Miller missed a runner as time expired to give San Antonio the victory. Six Nuggets players scored in double figures, led by 21 from JaVale McGee off the bench.
Ty Lawson returned to the lineup Wednesday night after missing three straight with a heel injury. He played less than 20 minutes against the Spurs and only managed two points on 1-for-7 shooting.
"I was just trying to get him enough minutes to where he would move forward a little bit," head coach George Karl said. "There's no question he was limited. Sometimes you've got to play injured players back into it before they can feel comfortable with their injury."
The Nets are inching toward the end of a long, eight-game road trip and have been successful thus far. Brooklyn is 4-1 after a victory Wednesday night in Portland, 111-93.
The Nets have clinched their berth in the postseason. They are 2 1/2 games behind the New York Knicks for the Atlantic Division title, but are also ahead of the Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks by the same margin for fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
Against the Blazers, Reggie Evans matched a career-high with 22 points and established a new career mark with 26 rebounds.
"I just want to win, that's it," said Evans. "I just take whatever I can do."
Evans' coach was slightly more effusive in his praise.
"Reggie was absurd," said coach P.J. Carlesimo. "But a lot of guys played really well for us."
Brook Lopez (28), Gerald Wallace (12), Andray Blatche (12), MarShon Brooks (12) and Joe Johnson (11) also scored in double figures. Deron Williams only managed six points, but handed out 10 assists.
The Nets still have stops in Utah and Cleveland on the trek before getting home on April 4.
The Nets have won two of the last three meetings with the Nuggets, but have dropped five straight in Denver.