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Preview: Nuggets look to bounce back and even series against Warriors

Here’s to hoping game two goes better than game one.

Denver Nuggets v Golden State Warriors - Game One Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Game one certainly did not go how the Denver Nuggets wanted it to go as the Golden State Warriors picked up a 123-107 victory to capture game one and take a 1-0 series advantage. The Nuggets were in the game at times, but a big second half from Golden State ultimately allowed the Warriors to run away with the game and win pretty handily.

Denver will look to turn the tide and flip some momentum back in their favor before coming home for game three on Thursday. If the Nuggets want to be successful and have a chance to steal one on the road, they are going to need more contributions from players not named Nikola Jokic.

Will Barton was the only player other than Jokic that had a solid performance in game one as his 24 points were just 1-point behind Jokic to lead the Nuggets in scoring. Bones Hyland and Monte Morris were the other Nuggets players who scored in double-figures as they each poured in 10 points a piece.

Where the Nuggets really struggled in game one was definsively as they allowed five Warriors players to score in double-figures and let Jordan Poole score 30 points on just 13 shot attempts. If that happens again in game two there is a pretty decent shot the Nuggets come back to Denver down 2-0 in the series.

The Basics

Who: Denver Nuggets @ Golden State Warriors (Game Two, Warriors lead 1-0)

When: 8:00 PM MST

Where: Chase Center, San Francisco, California

How to Watch/Listen: TNT or you can listen at 92.5 FM KKSE Altitude Sports Radio

Rival Blog: Golden State of Mind

Projected Starting Lineups:

Warriors — Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, Kevon Looney

Nuggets — Monte Morris, Will Barton, Aaron Gordon, Jeff Green, Nikola Jokic

Game 1 betting odds on DraftKings Sportsbook:

Line: Warriors -7 | Total: 224.5 | Nuggets money line: +230

Three Things to Watch

Can the Nuggets bounce back and steal one on the road?

It feels like it’s do or die time for the Nuggets and that Monday night’s game could go a long way in deciding who wins this series. If Denver can find a way to steal one on the road they have to come back to Denver feeling pretty good about their chances in this series.

If the Nuggets lose the game however — and depending in which fashion it happens — Denver is facing a massive hole being down 2-0 to a team that will be on a seven-game winning streak when they come to Ball Arena on Thursday night.

The Nuggets will have to start fast if they want to have a shot on Monday night and they will have to defend better than they did in game one. Denver can not let Poole go for another easy 30 points and let Klay Thompson get whatever shot he wants. The Nuggets did a fairly solid job of slowing down Steph Curry in game one, but then again he will be playing in his second game since coming back from a foot injury and chances are he will play better than he did the other day.

Does Michael Malone make any lineup adjustments?

It felt like coming into this series that Austin Rivers would have a pivotal role in the Nuggets trying to slow down Curry. It worked out pretty good for the Nuggets in game one that Curry came off the bench, which allowed Rivers to matchup against him most of the night.

There’s no telling whether Curry will come off the bench again or not, but if he does it works out well that Rivers will be able to matchup against him. If Curry starts though, will the Nuggets start Rivers and bring someone like Jeff Green off the bench? In game one, Rivers played 26 minutes to Green’s 23 and he feels like the likely candidate to be replaced seeing as Barton played pretty well in game one.

Malone could also shuffle the bench and play someone like Bryn Forbes more than the 14 minutes he saw in game one. As the Nuggets look for more scoring from their second unit it would not surprise me if a sharpshooter like Forbes gets more playing time.

Nikola Jokic’s matchup against Draymond Green:

You can maybe say that Green got the best of their matchup in game one as Jokic scored 25 points on 25 shots, but the Warriors defender knows it’s going to be a battle once again in game two:

It’s a matchup Jokic has to win if the Nuggets are going to be successful and it’s one I expect him to take personal going into game two. I’d look to Jokic to get going early and get his teammates involved after he himself has set the tone.

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