Nuggets at Warriors preview: Third match-up inside 20 days

Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

The Nuggets have played a total of 16 games, including tonight's contest in Oakland, and will be facing the Warriors for the third time this season. If you have been watching the games this year, then there is an 18.7-percent chance that you have viewed a Nuggets vs. Warriors match-up.

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2012/2013 NBA Regular Season: Game 16
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vs
Golden State Warriors (2011 - Pres)
8-7

8-6
November 29th, 2012, 8:30 PM (MT)
Oracle Arena- Oakland, CA
TV TNT / 950 AM / 104.3 FM The Fan
Probable Starters
Ty Lawson PG Stephen Curry
Andre Iguodala SG Klay Thompson
Danilo Gallinari SF Harrison Barnes
Kenneth Faried PF David Lee
Kosta Koufos C Festus Ezeli
Notes
You're already here, duh! Blogs Golden State of Mind
Chandler (out), Stone (out) Injuries Andrew Bogut (out), Richard Jefferson (out), Brandon Rush (out)
Free throws are now Expensive Throws until further notice. Stat Tied for 1st place in Pacific Division.

It's starting to feel like Denver and Golden State are facing off in a playoff series within the regular season. After tonight's game the two franchises won't see each other until the Warriors come to Denver on January 13th. So, with that in mind and all the familiarity in the air - I bring to you a Q&A style preview with Rasputin10 from Golden State of Mind.com.

1.) These teams have already played twice (Nov. 10th and Nov. 23rd), how excited are you for the third match-up? Are you sick of the Nuggets yet?

I'd rather have the third game later in the season, to see how these teams have both developed. I'm not going to get sick of the Nuggets - outside of' the Warriors they're probably my favorite team this year. As Carl Landry said in an interview yesterday, the Nuggets have been the biggest challenge for the Dubs this year, and you want to beat the teams that are one-up on you.

2.) What are your thoughts on Andrew Bogut so far this season? I am aware of his injuries this year, just wondering what your thoughts on him? Do you find yourself watching out for Bucks games and Monta Ellis? There is still a lot of Carmelo Anthony talk on Denver Stiffs.

I feel badly for Bogut at this point. He's so competitive that he came back too soon, and the limitations are driving him crazy. The biggest challenge the Warriors have is keeping him upbeat and off the court until he really is ready to play. All the pressure to play is coming from him, not the team.

As far Monta goes, it's a different question than with 'Melo. Many Dubs fans miss him terribly, at the same time many others are glad he's gone. While the Bucks are doing well so far, Monta isn't actually helping them win games. I'd guess that nearly as many fans miss Ekpe Udoh more than Ellis.

3.) What is the identity of this Warriors team? Do they have one yet? What do you see it being if not?

Really good question. One of our writers has described the team identity as vague, shapeless, and empty. While he intended this to mean he couldn't figure it out yet, I read that and realized that the Tao is described in almost identical terms.

Before the season, Mark Jackson described the roster as "versatile", and we've seen that so far this year. When Bogut finally returns, the Warriors will play with a dominant post - and are designed for it. Until then, it appears like they are designed for small-ball, with Lee and Landry in the frontcourt together. We've seen them play slow and grind, and pick up the tempo and shoot. Both styles have been successful, primarily because the rebounding has been there with either style of lineup.

Ultimately, though, this is Stephen Curry's team. If there appears to be a lack of identity, it's because Curry, as yet, doesn't have a fully formed identity on the court. What it won't be is the same as recent Warrior teams who had an emphasis on individual heroics and offense at all costs. At its best the team plays gorgeous team ball with exceptional passing - if this can continue, it will define them as the kind of classic team where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

4.) Klay Thompson's second season is _________? And why?

"A work in progress."

Klay is learning to drive more and create his own shots. His assisted shot rate is by far the highest on the team, and there are going to be glitches as he expands his game beyond "spot-up shooter". His defense has improved and he's learning, but there will be plenty of bumps in the road as he develops.

5.) Which Warrior has surprised you the most this season? Good or bad.

The rookies as a group. The Warriors are getting almost 60 minutes a game from the three rookies in the rotation. All of them are playing above their draft positions at this point. Over the last 5 games all three of them are top-10 rookies in rebounds per game. Harrison Barnes is certainly the flashiest, and is doing things on a different level than he did at UNC. He's shown the capacity to take over a game briefly, and has maturity well beyond his age. Probably a top-3 rook at this point.

Festus Ezeli has surprised by coming into the league as a competent backup center. He's got a little more offense than expected, and is better on the boards and defense than we would have thought. Overall, Festus is more productive than several bigs who were drafted much higher.

Draymond Green has done everything asked of him except shoot well, and that's been coming around. His defense and rebounding - and court sense - are already above average.

If you'd told me any team would put a pair of rookies on the floor as a defensive unit I'd have chuckled. Green and Harrison were stellar in the fourth quarter against the T-Wolves - I'm looking forward to possibly seeing them paired against the Nuggets.

6.) If you could add one thing to this team, what would it be? (Doesn't have to be a specific player)

Andre Iguodala. Seriously.

Thank you to Rasputin10 for taking the time to give us some insight into the Warriors.

Enjoy tonight's game!

***
Denver Nuggets Tickets

Nate_Timmons on Twitter
ntimmons73@yahoo.com

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