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Preview: Denver Nuggets return home to face Golden State Warriors

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Will it be a Curry or Murray Flurry tonight?

Denver Nuggets v. Golden State Warriors Photo by Mark Junge/Getty Images

The Denver Nuggets are back at home after going two of three on their east coast road trip. Winners of four of their last six, the Nuggets appear to be getting back on track towards a successful season. Still, the sting of their most recent contest, a loss to the Brooklyn Nets after holding an eighteen point lead, should keep anyone from getting complacent. The task tonight? The Golden State Warriors. While the Warriors’ season hit an immediate bump in the road when they lost Klay Thompson for the year to an achilles injury, Golden State is currently on the right side of .500 with a 6-5 record. Stephen Curry remains Stephen Curry and the key to beating the Warriors remains keeping him in check. If Andrew Wiggins or Eric Paschall go off you can win that game, but let Steph eclipse the thirty point mark like the Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings and Portland Trail Blazers (who let Steph eclipse the sixty point mark) have recently and in all likelihood you’re looking at a loss.

The Essentials

Who: Golden State Warriors (6-5) at Denver Nuggets (5-6)

When: 8:00 PM MST

Where: Ball Arena. Denver, CO.

How to watch/listen: Denver Stiffs does not condone piracy...unless its the romanticized 18th-century type. TNT, League Pass for non-Denver market viewers. Wear a really expensive suit and convince Ball Arena security you’re a high ranking Western Union executive. 92.5 FM KKSE Altitude Sports Radio.

Rival Blog: Let’s Go Warriors

Projected Matchups

Position Nuggets Pacers Advantage
Position Nuggets Pacers Advantage
PG Monte Morris Malcolm Brogdon Pacers
SG Jamal Murray Justin Holiday Nuggets
SF Will Barton Doug McDermott Even
PF Michael Porter Jr. Domantas Sabonis Pacers
C Nikola Jokic Myles turner Nuggets
Bench P.J. Dozier, Zeke Nnaji, Isaiah Hartenstein, Vlatko Cancar T.J. McConnell, Jeremy Lamb, Edmond Sumner, Aaron Holiday Pacers

Player availability: Gary Harris - questionable (personal reasons), Michael Porter Jr. - out (health and safety protocol), Greg Whittington - out (knee); Marquese Chriss - out (leg), Alen Smailagic - out (knee), Klay Thompson - out (achilles)

Three Things to watch for

Key matchup: Jamal Murray vs Steph Curry

Denver Nuggets v Golden State Warriors Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

No need to overthink the key matchup tonight, it’s clearly at the point guard position. Like I said, the key to beating the Warriors is containing Curry. The problem the Nuggets might face is if Gary Harris can’t go then they won’t have their defensive stopper at guard to throw at Steph. Even if Harris is available, it’s a fair bet that Murray is still going to get a good amount of minutes guarding the former MVP. Jamal also has hit a bit of a rough patch in regards to his offense which Denver may need tonight if Murray is not up to the task of containing Curry. No doubt The Blue Arrow is going to be up for this matchup tonight. I’m expecting a big game from Denver’s second star.

Key point: Bol Bol should play play

Bol got an opportunity to get minutes against the Nets and even got his first NBA start. Now, a lot of that has to do with the fact that the Nuggets had no one else who could compare to Kevin Durant’s length and quickness, but it was promising to see coach Michael Malone had the faith in Bol to task him with a situation like that. It should also be noted that the Nets made their comeback when Bol was off the floor. While there’s still a lot of raw in his game, I’d like to see Bol get more opportunity off the bench. The Nuggets thus far have been matching the roster size of their opponents. Minnesota Timberwolves play small, Nuggets sit Isaiah Hartenstein, Dallas Mavericks play big, Nuggets sit Facundo Campazzo; it would be a nice change of pace if Denver dictated what the other team did with their size for once. There is no one (save for maybe Zion Williamson) in the league who creates a bigger physical conundrum for the opposition than the Nuggets and their 7’2” small forward. The Warriors have one player on the roster who is healthy and taller than 6’9” and he’s a rookie. If the Nuggets are ever going to use Bol’s size to put a team at a disadvantage, tonight sure is a good night to do it.

Opening thought: play four quarters

The Nuggets now have three losses that should be wins: opening night against the Kings, the TNT game against the Mavericks and their most recent loss to the Nets. Each one of those games go Denver’s way if they just stay focused for the full 48 minutes. I don’t know about you, but I’d sure feel a lot better about this team at 8-3 than at 5-6. To put it plainly, the Nuggets have under performed in the first 15% of the season and that is a direct result of their mid-game lapses. Enough is enough, in a shortened season every loss is a bit more damaging and the Nuggets are quickly running out of losses they can overcome. Make Steph work, play a full 48 with energy and intensity and the Nuggets win this game. Simple as that.