Back in October, when the Los Angeles Lakers were the greatest show on paper, the brains at Basketball Prospectus surprised folks by projecting the starless Nuggets to win 58 games. Some might have called it Basketball Preposterous. Now? Basketball Nostradamus.

The prediction was just one game off — Denver won its 57th game Wednesday in the regular-season finale, defeating Phoenix 118-98, thus clinching the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. The 57 wins are the most by the Nuggets since joining the NBA in 1976, and the win was their 23rd consecutive at the Pepsi Center, where the Nuggets will open the playoffs against the No. 6-seeded Golden State Warriors on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

Game 2 is Tuesday at 8:30 p.m., then the series shifts to Oakland for Game 3 is April 26 and Game 4 is April 28.

The Warriors earned that seed by beating Portland late Wednesday night.

Entering Wednesday, Denver's magic number was one for the third seed — either the Nuggets had to win or the Los Angeles Clippers had to lose late at Sacramento. But the Nuggets took care of business early, jumping out to a 35-20 lead in the first quarter.

"I believe this team has a resiliency to them — what this team needs to get done, it gets done," Nuggets coach George Karl said.

The Nuggets' Wilson Chandler, starting at power forward for Kenneth Faried (ankle), scored 13 points in the first quarter, and he finished the night with a nifty 21 points on a neat 8-for-14 from the field.

"They have so many interchangeable parts, I think they can play so many different ways," Suns coach Lindsey Hunter said of the Nuggets. "They can go big, small, and I always think that a team that is that flexible — and can play different ways — can be dangerous. There is no set way to attack them."

The Nuggets set numerous benchmarks in this amazing season, one that started out rocky, with 17 of the first 23 games on the road. But the team won a franchise-record 38 games at home (yes, they lost at the Pepsi Center just three times). And they led the league in categories indicative of their fast-paced style, such as points off turnovers and points in the paint.

The Nuggets were so good that they even surprised some of the Nuggets.

Asked if he thought in preseason if Denver could win 57 games, Andre Miller said: "Not at all. I thought we'd probably maintain .500, especially with the schedule the way it was early — stick around .500 or maybe a little better. But we've exceeded expectations and have been pretty much consistent with our energy."