The Nuggets are starting a long stretch of games at home, which is a nice break for a team that has played 21 of their 38 games on the road this season. The Nuggets lost their last game against the Warriors, 111-108, in an overtime thriller in Oakland. Steph Curry didn't get much run in that game, exiting early with a shin injury, but is expected to be at full strength for the game tonight.
Draymond Green, the brash power forward that has tormented the league for eight triple-doubles this season, is expected to rest for the game. Without Green, the Warriors will have to rely more on Harrison Barnes, Brandon Rush, Andre Iguodala and Ian Clark, but with the firepower they bring from their guards, it may not matter. The Nuggets will need Kenneth Faried, who is expected to return after taking personal time for the birth of a daughter, to go full Manimal on the boards to help keep the Nuggets in the game.
Who: Golden State Warriors (36-2) vs. Denver Nuggets (14-24)
When: 7:00 PM MST
Where: Pepsi Center, Denver, CO
How to Watch and/or Listen: Altitude (TV) and Cruisin 950AM (radio)
Rival Blog: SB Nation and Golden State of Mind
|Golden State Warriors||Denver Nuggets||Advantage|
|PG||Stephen Curry||Emmanuel Mudiay||Warriors|
|SG||Klay Thompson||Gary Harris||Warriors|
|SF||Brandon Rush||Danilo Gallinari||Nuggets|
|PF||Harrison Barnes||Kenneth Faried||Even|
|C||Andrew Bogut||Nikola Jokic||Warriors|
Shaun Livingston, Andre Iguodala, Leandro Barbosa, Festus Ezeli, Marreese Speights, Jason Thompson, Ian Clark
|Will Barton, Jameer Nelson, Randy Foye, Jusuf Nurkic, Joffrey Lauvergne, Mike Miller, J.J. Hickson, Sean Kilpatrick||Warriors
Injured Players: Wilson Chandler - Out (hip), Draymond Green - doubtful (rest), Jameer Nelson - questionable (hip), James Michael McAdoo - questionable (toe)
Key Matchup: Emmanuel Mudiay vs Steph Curry
If there's anything to remember about the last time these two point guards played, it's that Mudiay crossed Curry over so hard, Curry probably had to check if his feet were attached to his legs afterwards. Not only did Mudiay have enough time to chuckle as Curry hobbled back upright, but Mudiay actually made a 3-pointer too. The Nuggets lost, unfortunately, but Curry scored under 20 points, which is a big deal. The Nuggets were without Mudiay the last time the two teams met, but Curry was limited as well. If Mudiay can keep Curry from scoring 30 points or more, who knows, maybe the Nuggets will find some Mile High magic and pull off the upset. Stranger things have happened.
Key thing to watch for: Going big
The Warriors are expected to rest Draymond Green, and that gives the Nuggets a size advantage. Green is key to the Warriors vaunted "lineup of death" because he is able to guard and rebound players much larger than he is. If the Nuggets can get Bogut in foul trouble, Nurkić should be able to find some easier looks against Festus Ezeli. If the Nuggets can gain an edge on the offensive and defensive glass against the Warriors big men, the Nuggets might want to try to get into the paint as much as possible to help their big men have a better chance of finding tip-ins and putbacks.
Welcome, Sean Kilpatrick:
The Nuggets made a roster move Tuesday, signing former Cincinnati Bearcats guard Sean Kilpatrick to a 10-day contract. Kilpatrick shot 45 percent on 3-point attempts, and 61 percent from the corners, while in the Developmental League with the Delaware 87ers, the 76ers affiliate team. D-League stats are a bit inflated, with the defense not quite what it would be at the NBA level, but there are success stories of D-League players making an impact in the NBA. Only time will tell if the Nuggets were able to find the next Danny Green or Avery Bradley. The Nuggets may not have Jameer Nelson available, which could put Randy Foye in line for backup point guard minutes.
Prediction: Golden State 105 - Denver 103. I really wanted to go with Denver, and it'd be one of the greatest wins of the season for the Nuggets. Without Draymond Green, I think it'll be a much tougher game than normal for the Warriors. They'll miss his versatility, especially with Harrison Barnes not entirely healthy yet. But Curry and Thompson are so good, and it's hard to pick against them. The Warriors are favored by nine, but if I was a gambling man, I'd pick the Nuggets to cover.
The powerball lottery is also going to be quite high - if a Nuggets fan wins, they should buy all the Stiffs tickets for a game. If you read this, consider it legally binding, no take backs, thanks for the gift.