Nuggets at Warriors preview: Afflalo, Nuggets need to go streaking

April 1, 2012; Orlando FL, USA; Denver Nuggets shooting guard Arron Afflalo (6) and point guard Andre Miller (24) congratulate each other during the second half against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center. Denver Nuggets defeated the Orlando Magic 104-101. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
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Frank the Tank uttered some classic lines in the 2003 film Old School. But one quote sticks out in my mind right now for the Nuggets, "We're ... we're going streaking! We're going up the quad and to the gymnasium!" Well, bring your blue and yellow hats as the Nuggets travel to Oakland tonight to face the Warriors on ESPN.

Game: 56

Records:
Denver:
30-25 (14-13 on the road)
Streak: Won 1
Golden State: 21-33 (10-17 at home)
Streak: Lost 1

Injuries:
Denver
: Danilo Gallinari (fractured left thumb) is out. Wilson Chandler (a groin) is day-to-day.
Golden State: Andrew Bogut (fractured left ankle) and Stephen Curry (right ankle sprain) are both out.

Television: ESPN

Season Series: 1-0 Warriors (109-101 on Feb. 9th in Denver)

Opposition's Take: Golden State of Mind

Great, another game with the high-scoring dynamic Warriors. In the first match-up back on Feb. 9th we had to watch as Stephen Curry came into The Can and exploded for 36 points on 13-17 shooting (6-9 from deep) as the Warriors breezed to an easy 109-101 victory over the Nuggets.

The good news: Curry wont be in the lineup tonight!
The bad news: Curry is fun to watch and it's always better to beat a team at full strength to get a truer test of what your squad can do than to take down an injury (tanking) riddled team.

The good news: Monta Ellis also wont be playing tonight as he was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks at the trade deadline for injured Andrew Bogut, who will also be sitting this one out, Gallo style (sorry Jeff Morton!).
The bad news: The Warriors still have some scorers and three point shooters on their team! Klay Thompson scored 19 points off the bench for the Warriors at The Can and he's now in the starting lineup. Klay doesn't play like his father Mychal Thompson did as he was a bruiser down low, while Klay does a lot of damage from the outside, like his 3-4 performance from deep against the Nuggets (or his 4-5 from long range performance against the Jazz last night). Denver will need to keep on eye on the 6'7'' guard/forward or he could go big tonight.

The good news: Richard Jefferson is now taking up salary cap space for the Warriors.
The bad news: Jefferson is averaging 14.3 points per game and 57% shooting from deep against the Nuggets this season (when he was a San Antonio Spur). If Marc Jackson is smart, he'll insert R.J. for awhile tonight.

The good news: Karl and Jackson have some kind of riff between them. Makes for some spirited competition.
The bad news: Jackson is 1-0 vs. Karl as a head coach.

The good news: The Warriors are starting a rookie 2nd round draft pick at point guard tonight.
The bad news: Charles Jenkins, 6'3'' and 220 lbs., will likely light the Nuggets up - like the All-Time leading scorer at Hofstra used to do in college.

The good news: The Warriors played last night in Utah and had to travel, just like the Nuggets.
The bad news: Ty Lawson and Company have continually stunk it up in games they should win on paper. Yes, even though Denver also played last night, they should win this game against a team more concerned with lottery balls than sinking basketballs (well, management wants lottery and players wanna play ... lovers wanna love, but I digress).

The good news: Andre Miller helped the Nuggets secure a win last night against the Suns.
The bad news: 'Dre gives up too many open looks on defense and that can negate the good on offense, oh and he's also 36 years-old. TY LAWSON, COME BACK! COME BACK! COME BACK! (That was a Titanic reference, here's lookin' at you Kate Winslet.)

The good news: The Warriors used these starters last night: Charles Jenkins, Klay Thompson, Dorell Wright, David Lee, and Jeremy Tyler. And a bench rotation of: Nate Robinson (yep, him), Andris Biedrins, R.J., Brandon Rush, and Dominic McGuire. The casual fan might know one or two of the above players ... period.
The bad news: The Nuggets defense.

The Warriors are really the only team left on the Nuggets schedule who are not battling for a playoff spot. One could argue that the Timberwolves, whom the Nuggets play two more times, at 5.5 behind the Nuggets are still in the hunt, so Denver needs these next two games against the Warriors to make life a tough easier on themselves. We can all attest to the fact that Arron Afflalo and his teammates don't like making their basketball lives easier and we should expect a close game tonight.

The mentally tougher team should come out with a win this evening and I have a feeling that we saw a hungry Nuggets team start to show their playoff teeth last night. Say what you will about the Nuggets defense last night against the Suns, but Denver made key stops with the game on the line and offensively the team never looked more determined. With just minutes remaining we saw the Nuggets fight for their playoff rights.

Let's hope we see that same fight out of the Nuggets on both ends of the floor this evening on national television.

Nate's predicted fate:

Nuggets 106
Warriors 94

Nate_Timmons on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/Nate_Timmons
ntimmons73@yahoo.com

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