I am not sure if you guys are old enough to remember the ad campaign with the tag line, “This is not your father’s Oldsmobile.” Well, these are not your older brothers Golden State Warriors. These are more like your Uncle’s Golden State Warriors. The team that defeated the Dallas Mavericks in the first round two years ago is long gone. Golden State is more like the team that missed the playoffs for 12 straight seasons.
The Warriors have lost ten of their last 12 games. To be fair eight of those 12 were on the road, but so is tonight’s game against the Denver Nuggets. The Warrior’s problem is an absence of any kind of effort on defense. The Warriors are giving up 116.5 points per game during that 12 game stretch. Part of that is due to the fast pace the Warriors play at, but unlike the Nuggets last year, pace is not the reason they give up so many points. The Warriors are third to last in the league in defensive efficiency giving up 112.4 points per 100 possessions. I am willing to bet that number is closer to 120 over the 12 game streak we have been talking about.
More bad news for the Warriors is the Nuggets have been surging on offense. Over the Nuggets last nine games Denver is sporting an offensive efficiency of 116.8. I think it is safe to expect a very high scoring game by the Nuggets tonight. Now Golden State can score too, but when they are firing on all cylinders on offense, their defense still has been making sure they come up a point or six short.
From an injury standpoint, Kenyon Martin is expected to play tonight, but the official word is that he is a game time decision. Not to disrespect the Warriors, but I would prefer Kenyon sit out one more game in hopes that he will be as healthy as possible for the very difficult stretch of six games in nine days that begins on Monday. The Nuggets need to make sure they are not looking ahead to next week and take of business tonight.
Previous Matchup: Game 4
Update: Corey Maggette has a torn hammy.