Following a nail-biting win last night over the Miami Heat, the Nuggets are above .500 for the first time in a year and have got to be feeling confident moving forward. Denver has now won two games on a row but up next is a back-to-back date with the Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors are as good as ever but have proven to be beatable, and no team knows that better in the regular season than do the Nuggets. Last time Golden State came to town in February, the shorthanded Nuggets bombarded Steph Curry and co. to a huge 132-110 victory behind a Nikola Jokic triple-double and a career game from Juancho Hernangomez, while tying the NBA record for most three-pointers made in a single game.
This time around Juancho is still out with mono, and the defending champions last played Thursday as they cruised to a win over San Antonio. The odds will be stacked against Denver, but anything can happen, right?
Who: Golden State Warriors (6-3) vs. Denver Nuggets (5-4)
When: 7:00 PM MDT
Where: Pepsi Center, Denver, CO
How to watch: Altitude
Rival blog: Golden State of Mind
A lot of things have to go right for a team to down the mighty Warriors, but as long as the Nuggets don’t come out ice cold they could have an opportunity to steal a win. The real key to this game will be to play their own style of basketball and not get caught in a shootout with Golden State. That absolutely means playing through Jokic, who will have a matchup advantage all night long against Zaza Pachulia and JaVale McGee.
Jokic has looked phenomenal so far this season and as long as he facilitates Denver will be in a good position. He will also have to look to score. Paul Millsap has been on fire the past two games and he also had a nice preseason outing against the Warriors in October. A big night on both ends of the floor from him would be huge.
Defensively the intensity from the Nuggets has been an improvement all season and it’s starting to show. But guarding the Miami Heat one night to the Warriors the next is a drastic change and the Nuggets will have to step up, tired legs and all. Jamal Murray and/or Emmanuel Mudiay will have the unfortunate assignment to guard Curry or Klay Thompson, which of course will not be easy.
It’s always a fun time when the Warriors come to town, and maybe the Nuggets can catch Golden State sleeping once again. The Warriors certainly are just playing for June while Denver will need every win it can get this year. If all goes well, we very well could be seeing gems like this once again: