The Denver Nuggets are in Oakland tonight to take on the defending champion, Golden State Warriors. It is the 4th game of the team's 7 game preseason and marks the midway point between training camp and opening night.
The Nuggets will bring their 2-1 preseason record into Oracle arena looking to build on some of the progress that they made through the team's first three games. While the Nuggets are still looking to establish a identity and build familiarity, the Warriors are a team that knows exactly who they are. The Warriors owned the leagues most efficient defense during the regular season last year, the 2nd most efficient offense, and far and away the best 3-point percentage.
Who: Denver Nuggets (2-1) at Golden State Warriors (1-1)
When: 8:30 PM MT
Where: Oracle Arena
Where to watch: NBATV
Opposing Blog: Golden State of Mind
Key Matchup #1: Emmanuel Mudiay vs. Steph Curry
Mudiay made his preseason debut with the difficult assignment of trying to bring the ball up court while being guarded by Chris Paul, one of the league's best point guard defenders. Tonight he'll have the unenviable task of trying to stop the league's best offensive point guard and one of the league's most dynamic scorers in Steph Curry. There are no nights off for point guards in the western conference and it will be very interesting to see how Mudiay defends the crafty, 3-point shooting Curry.
Key Matchup #2: Danilo Gallinari vs. Draymond Green
Gallo has been incredible this preseason. Against the Chicago Bulls, Gallo scored at will when guarded by Jimmy Butler and anyone else that the Bulls threw at him. Draymond will be a whole new challenge for Gallo. It will be interesting to see if Malone puts Gallo on the block a lot like he did against the smaller Butler, or if Gallo gets a chance to showcase a different part of his game. Either way, the minutes that those two get matched up on each other will be very interesting.
Other things to watch
One thing I've noticed this preseason, not just from the Nuggets but from the half dozen or so NBA games I've watched, is that teams seem to over-rotate on defense. Everyone is dialed in and team rotations on defense is a large focus at most training camps so it makes sense that defenses are extremely active right now. The tradeoff is that teams have gotten a lot of open three-pointers. Giving up open threes against a 3-point shooting team like the Warriors is death and it will be interesting to see how quickly the Nuggets defense is moving on a string and how quickly they can recover on open shooters.