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Nuggets at Warriors: The return of Birdman? (8:30pm MST)

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After a hot 6-2 start, the Golden State Warriors have lost four of their last five games. Like the Nuggets, the Warriors are missing a couple of bigs (David Lee and Lou Amundson) and are a much better team at home (5-1) than on the road (2-5). Should be a good one in Oakland, and hopefully one that Chris Andersen makes his season debut in.

The particulars ...

Records:
Denver:
7-6 (2-5 on the road)
Golden State: 7-6 (5-1 at home)
Injuries:
Denver:
Kenyon Martin (knee) is out. Chris Andersen (knee) is probable. Chauncey Billups (fractured nose and right wrist sprain is listed as day-to-day and should play.
Golden State: Brandon Wright (back) is questionable. David Lee (left elbow surgery due to bite!), Lou Amundson (surgery on fractured right index finger), Epke Udoh (left wrist surgery) are all out.

Opposition's Take: Golden State of Mind

Let's do some good news/bad news for the Nuggets ...

The good news for the Nuggets: Birdman should be making his return this week, either tonight against the Warriors or Friday versus the Bulls, thanks to readers Mini Hulk and Jack Winchcomb for posting links.

The bad news for the Nuggets: I'm writing the preview/recap tonight and the Nuggets are now 0-4 in games with me doing said writing.

The good news: The Warriors will be playing the dreaded second game of a back-to-back tonight after losing to the Los Angeles Lakers yesterday.

The bad news: At the half, the Warriors were down by the same amount of points, 28 (69-41) that they lost by (117-89). So, their players didn't log a lot of minutes ... only one starter (Dorell Wright) played over 30 minutes.

The good news: Nene's favorite instigator, Amundson (a Colorado kid), wont be on the floor tonight. I think most Nuggets fans recall the game against the Phoenix Suns where Nene head-butted Amundson and earned a fine and suspension from the league.

The bad news: We wont get to see if Nene would really break all of Amundson's face with another head butt. Check out Nene's quote from the incident from a March 30, 2009 story in Dime Magazine:

"You learn that you don’t let a stupid dude take you out of the game because he’s nobody," Nene said. "He doesn’t have much (game). He just goes over there and tries to get a contract. That was no head-butt. That is nothing. . . . If I do a head-butt, I break all of his face."

The good news: With Billups' right wrist sprain he might not be able to shoot the ball very comfortably or very often.

The bad news: With his 34% shooting percentage, I don't see any bad news about Billups not being able to shoot as much.

The good news: The game starts at 8:30 p.m. in Colorado ... wait ... I dislike late starts.

The bad news: The game starts at 8:30 p.m. ... there we go.

The good news: With the injuries to Lee and Amundson the Warriors are forced to start Vladimir Radmanovic. This isn't the young sweet shooting and braid wearing Radman from his Seattle Sonics days, this is the 30% shooting version.

The bad news: The Warriors do have the NBA's second leading scorer, Monta Ellis (27.7 ppg) in the lineup tonight. Ellis and Stephen Curry form a high scoring backcourt that averages nearly 48 points per game. It'll be important for the Denver defense to crowd them all night, but scorers know how to get their points.

The good news: George Karl found a way to get Billups, Ty Lawson, Arron Afflalo, Gary Forbes, and J.R. Smith minutes against the Nets.

The bad news: The Nuggets player rotations are still as confusing as ever. Along with Smith getting out of the doghouse (for now), Melvin Ely saw his first significant action since November 9th when he played 16 minutes against the Pacers in Indiana. Who gets minutes tonight? Your guess is as good as mine, let's just hope Anthony Carter's name isn't called by the Coach.

Players to watch tonight:

Nuggets: Hopefully Birdman will be out there tonight and if he is I'll be watching to see how he looks in his first game back. The return of J.R. was nice to see, so it'll be interesting to see his minutes and level of play tonight as well.

Warriors: Andris Biedrins ... it might be a good idea to foul him if he touches the ball in the paint. His free throw woes look to be continuing as he's just 1-7 on the season from the foul line. That's right, the starting center for the Warriors only has seven free throw attempts this season ... that's unbelieveable as he's averaging over 27 minutes a game. To compare, Nene has 52 free throw attempts this season and even Shelden Williams has 15 attempts.

Sarcastic Nuggets key to victory: Somebody might want to give Billups a little bump to the noggin tonight, after his nasty fall against the Nets he lit up (for him) the assist column over his 4.7 season average to the tune of 7 dimes.

ntimmons73@yahoo.com
Twitter: Nate_Timmons