The following players are not going to be available for the Nuggets tonight in the East Bay: Allen Iverson, Chauncey Billups, Antonio McDyess, Chiekh Samb (by the way, I have already learned how to spell Ckhiehk from memory. Oh crap, never mind.), Juwan Howard, Sonny Weems, Chucky Atkins, Steven Hunter, Priest Lauderdale, Wayne Cooper and Vincent Yarborough. Although I think Lauderdale and Yarborough may be available.
Needless to say the Nuggets are a little thin in the front court. If Nene gets into foul trouble or Kenyon re-tweaks his hammy the Nuggets will be in trouble. The list of big man on the bench begins and ends with Chris Andersen. Look for Linas Kleiza, Renaldo Balkman and perhaps even Melo to see some time at power forward tonight.
The good news is the Warriors are a good team to play small against because they too like to play small with Al Harrington starting at power forward. Despite their small ball-ness the Warriors do have a big baller in the middle. Andris Biedrins has been a force in the paint so far this season. Don Nelson has finally realized it is good to let Biedrins play more than 24 minutes a game. After four games this season Biedrins is averaging 17.5 points and 14.5 boards in over 36 minutes per outing. Denver will have their hands full with him no matter who plays. The truly bad news is third in the league with an average of 5.3 offensive rebounds a game.
The Warriors are coming off a loss in Memphis, but this is only their second home game of the season and in the first they gave the powerhouse Hornets all they could handle before losing by five 108-103. Even without Baron Davis and Monta Ellis the Warriors will be a very tough home team.
With Billups not yet available Anthony Carter will have one more game as the Nuggets starting point guard tonight and Karl has announced that Dahntay Jones will start at shooting guard. Smith will eventually be the starting shooting guard, but for now, he will remain the sparkplug off the bench. It will be interesting to see who Jones matches up against. Stephen Jackson is the Warrios engine and Jones would be a good matchup for Jackson. However, that would leave Melo on Maggette who has the ability to get to the line and put his defender in foul trouble. Because of the potential for getting into foul trouble look for Jones to cover Maggette and Melo to check the slower, but craftier Jackson.
Melo is now the undisputed leader of this team, at least until Chauncey gets acclimated, and tonight he can start to put his mark on the team. While we are on the subject of new leaders Melo has proclaimed that he will score 44 points in honor of Barack Obama becoming the 44th president of the United States. That sounds cool, but let’s hope Melo does not have 43 points and end up at the line with no time left on the clock and the Nuggets down two.
Golden State is a very fun team to watch and I think we can look forward to an up and down game. It will be another good, and different, test of the Nuggets newfound defensive resiliency.
Head on over to Golden State of Mind to read what the best Warrior blog on the planet is saying about the game.