Does anyone forget the way in which the Nuggets beat the Warriors on January 5th? The foul call on Monta Ellis with just four-tenths of a second left on the clock? Yes, I thought you'd remember and so do the Warriors. The two teams face off for a third time tonight. Revenge anyone?
The particulars ...
Denver: 26-14 (18-3 at home, 8-11 on the road)
Golden State: 12-27 (8-10 at home, 4-17 on the road)
Denver: None. (FINALLY!)
Golden State: Check out this laundry list ... (sore right achilles), (sprained right ankle) and CJ Watson (laceration in right hand) are doubtful. (sprained left ankle), (left patellar tendon injury), (left wrist), (sprained right knee) and Brandon Wright (shoulder surgery) are all out. That's 8 rotation guys out of the lineup.
Opposition's Take: Golden State of Mind
The Nuggets head to Oakland after completing a three-game home stand in which they went 3-0. In fact, in the month of January the Nuggets are 6-2, but just 1-1 on the road. In the remaining seven games of the month, Denver will be on the road for four of them with stops in Golden State (tonight), Houston, Oklahoma City and San Antonio.
If Denver is going to get back to .500 on the road, or perhaps even above .500 then they must start by winning tonight. And anything less than a blowout at Oracle Arena should be considered a shame tonight. If the injury report remains true, the Warriors will be forced to start Devean George again (who has only appeared in 8 games this season and is averaging 2.3 points and 0.9 rebounds) and the Warriors' bench will feature these names: Chris Hunter, Anthony Tolliver and Cartier Martin.
The familiar, "who?" should have just spewed from your mouth.
The Nuggets have seen Chris Hunter before, but Tolliver and Martin both have been added this month with 10-day contracts (Martin on the 10th and Tolliver on the 17th). Coachhas wasted little time seeing what these guys can do as Tolliver logged 24 minutes against the on January 18th (going 2-10 from the field) and Martin averaging 30.8 minutes per game in his four-games with Golden State (averaging 7 points and 5.8 rebounds).
The Warriors have been crippled with injuries this season and tonight is no different. Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry, Corey Maggette and Andris Biedrins will be asked to carry much of the load as they did against the Bulls on Monday night (Jan. 18th). The four players combined to score 103 points (just 9 for Biedrins) in a 114-97 win against Chicago and proved they can get the job done.
Check out Ellis' numbers from that win ... 48 minutes, 14-39 shooting (3-9 from deep), 5-9 from the charity stripe, 5 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 steals, 1 block, 2 turnovers and 36 points. Pretty amazing that a guy averaging 4.18 turnovers per game only had 2 in a game where he never came off the floor.
Teams can do funny things when they are shorthanded and sometimes it's dangerous to play a team with so many players out of the lineup because if they get hot they get to stay on the floor and keep in rhythm. Hopefully the Warriors used up their shorthanded luck by beating the Bulls and snapping their three-game losing streak. Perhaps Denver can bypass a revenge game by Golden State and come out with a no-doubter game tonight.
It should help that the Nuggets are now, at least by injury report status, 100% healthy and it looks like they are really starting to gel as well. Good teams get better as the season progresses and as Andrew pointed out in his breakdown of the first half of the season, things wont be easy for Denver with a tougher schedule, but if these Nuggets play at their best level they can roll through any team.
Denver needs to keep the roll going tonight.
Views you can use:
- Much has been discussed about J.R. Smith's shooting woes. Through 33 games J.R. is averaging 5.6 three-point attempts per game ... the exact same number of attempts as last season. J.R. is only making 1.8 of those attempts this year compared to 2.2 made last season.
- Ty Lawson didn't miss much of a beat in the scoring department after missing four games as he scored 11 points against the in 27 minutes. It was too bad he got injured when he did because he was playing at such a high level, but it doesn't seem his confidence took much of a hit.
- Since Melo's return to the lineup, Kenyon Martin's numbers have flip-flopped. On the season K-Mart is averaging 11.4 points and 8.8 rebounds, since Melo's return, Martin is averaging 9 points and 11.3 rebounds.
Photo courtesy of AP Photos: David Zalubowski