Nuggets vs. Warriors preview: Denver needs a signature win in Oakland

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The Nuggets return to Oracle Arena, where their 2012-13 season ended - Game 6 of the first round of the playoffs.

Game 38: 2013-14 NBA Season
@

Warriors_logo_medium

19-18 (8-10 on road)
Series 1-0 GS
25-14 (12-4 at home)
January 15th, 2014
Oracle Arena - Oakland, CA
8:30 PM MT
ESPN / Altitude / 950 AM

Ty Lawson PG Stephen Curry
Randy Foye
SG Klay Thompson
Quincy Miller SF Andre Iguodala
Kenneth Faried
PF David Lee
J.J. Hickson
C Andrew Bogut
Notes
Denver Stiffs Blogs Golden State of Mind
Danilo Gallinari (knee) is out, JaVale McGee (leg fracture) is out, Wilson Chandler (groin) is day to day, Darrell Arthur (groin) is day to day
Injuries Festus Ezeli (knee), Jermaine O'Neal (wrist), Nemanja Nedovic (hamstring) are all out
The Nuggets are 5-5 since losing to the Warriors on Dec. 23rd
Etc... The Warriors are 9-1 since beating the Nuggets in Denver on Dec. 23rd

By the time you are reading this, I will be leaving Denver on a jet plane and I know exactly the date that I'll be back again. My destination? Oakland, CA.

I've been an NBA fan for, just about, as long as I can remember. Up until last season the only NBA arenas I'd been in were McNichols Sports Arena and the Pepsi Center. Last season, I was fortunate enough to attend the Nuggets vs. Suns game at the U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix and loved covering a game outside of Denver. This year I wanted to be able to cover some road games and will be able to bring you all coverage from Oracle for tonight's game and the Suns game looming on Jan. 19th.

During the playoffs last season one of the national networks kept displaying a crowd noise meter that was supposed to display just loud Oracle was ... the problem? They never used the meter in other arenas to show the people at home a comparable noise level in other places.

Meter or no meter, I wanted to see a game in Oracle before the team moves (if they do) to San Francisco and plays in a different venue. It's no secret that the Warriors play in front of one of the best crowds in the league and I want to see what it's all about before it's gone.

What is gone is the mediocre 15-13 record the "Dubs" had back when they played the Nuggets on Dec. 23rd. Since that time they have gone 9-1 and have gotten back to playing good all-around ball with Andre Iguodala getting back into the mix. The Warriors are 12-2 with Iguodala back in the lineup from his hamstring injury that kept him out of 12 contests. Iggy averaged 7 points per game in Dec. and has averaged just 10 points, thus far, in January (57.9% shooting) to go along with 5.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists.

Mark Jackson has his starters logging major minutes and is using, basically, an eight-man rotation with Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes, and Marreese Speights being the bench-mob. Curry and Thompson average over 37 minutes per game with Lee not far behind at 34 mpg and Iguodala at 33 mpg. Can these guys continue to log big minutes or will they burn out? It's a similar question for Ty Lawson now that Brian Shaw is giving him roughly 38 minutes in Jan. versus 32.8 minutes per game in December.

One thing that has impressed me with Thompson is his ability to play in the post. I can't help but think he got comfortable in the post in the playoffs against Lawson. He seemed to score at will in the post on Ty and went at him a bit in the post the last time these two teams played. Thompson shoots an above league average 44.4% from just outside the right side of the paint (12-27), but isn't nearly as good down on the left side and is below league average at 29.2% (12-41), according to NBA.com. Yes, the post game is a small aspect of what Thompson does, but he hurts the Nuggets when he posts up Lawson. Klay is becoming a true pick-your-poison player.

Everyone knows you can't leave Curry open, but he's also dangerous when he's attacking. Curry has the 16th most drives in the NBA this season, the most on the Warriors club. Lawson ranks 3rd in that same category and is out-driving Curry 375-252, according to NBA.com.

Both teams thrive when they are disrupting the defense by driving and creating chaos as they test defensive rotations. The Warriors have been very good at home and the Nuggets have been pretty decent away from Pepsi Center. With Lawson challenging his teammates to be ready, this should be an interesting game.

Views you can use:

-Brian Shaw pointed out that Timofey Mozgov is a good match-up for big centers like Bogut. How much Moz will we see when Bogut is in the game? Can Denver take advantage of Moz's size when Bogut is out and play that inside-out game that Shaw loves?

-Could Quincy Miller usurp the starting spot from Wilson Chandler in hopes of giving the bench even more scoring pop? Chandler has been good off the bench during his time with the Nuggets and he could begin to take that role again in anticipation of Danilo Gallinari perhaps coming back in the coming months. Or maybe Shaw goes back to starting Chandler against Iguodala and company tonight ...

-Randy Foye is shooting a blistering 50.6% from long range in Jan. with at least four makes in each game.

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