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Preview: Nuggets attempt to end Warriors' historic winning streak

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The defending champion Golden State Warriors are trying to become only the third team in NBA history to start a season 15-0. Could our Denver Nuggets prevent that from happening?

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

As my colleague Jeff Morton wrote about on Saturday afternoon, our Denver Nuggets have actually been in the role of "historic streak breaker" before. Of course the last time this happened was 19 years ago when the eventual NBA Champion / 72-win Chicago Bulls stormed into Denver riding an 18-game winning streak and our Nuggets (barely) bested them 105-99 at the old McNichols Arena. At the time, the NBA punditry universe was convinced that that Bulls team was marching towards matching the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers record of 33 consecutive wins, but the Nuggets were able to pull off a gutty win and end the mighty Bulls streak at 18.

On Sunday night, the current NBA Champion (and possible 72-win) Golden State Warriors come into Denver riding an impressive winning streak of their own. At 14-0, the Warriors have already tied the record for the second-best start to an NBA season in league history and are just one win shy of tying the 1993-94 Houston Rockets and the 1948-49 Washington Capitols who each set the record with 15 straight opening season wins. Should the Warriors beat our Nuggets Sunday night in Denver, they have a great shot at going 20-0 before facing the tough Raptors in Toronto on December 5th.

But while a victory over the Warriors Sunday would be THE signature victory for the Nuggets this season, the truth is the 2015-16 Nuggets will have to play almost flawlessly to pull it off. The 2015-16 Warriors just might be better than the 2014-15 edition that won an astounding 67 games and the NBA Championship whereas the 2015-16 Nuggets continue to struggle at home, evident by Friday's disappointing performance against the mediocre Phoenix Suns.

The Basics:

Who: Golden State Warriors (14-0) at Denver Nuggets (6-6)

When: 6:00 pm MST

Where: Pepsi Center, Denver, CO

How to Watch: Altitude TV

Rival Blog: Golden State of Mind

Golden State Warriors Denver Nuggets Advantage
PG Stephen Curry Emmanuel Mudiay Warriors
SG Klay Thompson Gary Harris Warriors
SF Harrison Barnes Danilo Gallinari Nuggets
PF Draymond Green Kenneth Faried Warriors
C Andrew Bogut Nikola Jokic Warriors
Bench Andre Iguodala, Festus Ezeli, Shaun Livingston, Leandro Barbosa, James Michael McAdoo, Ian Clark, Marreese Speights, Jason Thompson, Brandon Rush, Kevon Looney

Jameer NelsonDarrell ArthurKostas PapanikolaouWill Barton, J.J. Hickson, Randy Foye, Mike Miller

Warriors

Injured PlayersJoffrey Lauvergne, back (out), Jusuf Nurkic, knee (out), Wilson Chandler, hip (out)

Three things to look for in this game ...

1) Will Mudiay's maturation make Curry work on defense?

Against the Suns on Friday night, the Nuggets rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay had his best offensive game of the season going head-to-head against two quality point guards in the Suns' Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight. Unfortunately, defensively Mudiay partook in the Nuggets' sieve of a defense as the Bledsoe and Knight combined for (egad!) 60 points. But perhaps Mudiay's offensive mojo will carryover into Sunday's game making the Warriors' Stephen Curry work hard on defense. One can hope.

2) How will Coach Michael Malone play whack-a-mole defensively?

Playing against the Warriors is like a whack-a-mole game. Maybe - just maybe - you can slow down Curry, but that just frees up Klay Thompson. And maybe - just maybe - you can slow down Curry and Thompson, but that just frees up Draymond Green. And maybe - just maybe - you can slow down Curry, Thompson and Green, but that just frees up Harrison Barnes. And we haven't even gotten to Andre Iguodala, Andrew Bogut or the Warriors' deep bench yet. You get the idea. There's a reason why these guys are 14-0.

3) Can the Nuggets maintain their confidence?

Friday's home loss to the Suns was heartbreaking, but it came at the end of seven relatively well played games (during which the Nuggets went 4-3). During the past seven games, the Nuggets played tough at San Antonio and won three straight home games against decent competition. Before these past seven games began, the Nuggets got their butts kicked in Oakland by the Warriors ... so it would be nice to see a tougher / more confident Nuggets squad give the Warriors all they've got on Sunday night.

Prediction: Warriors 115, Nuggets 105

Nordberg