The Denver Nuggets (28-12) are in the middle of a hotly contested Western Conference battle that sees four teams within 1.5 games of each other. Tonight, they’ll be looking to keep the pressure on the other teams out West with a win over the Golden State Warriors (9-33). It’s their second game in a back-to-back after last night’s game with the Charlotte Hornets, and they’ll be looking to get a win before their schedule gets more difficult in the next few weeks.

The Warriors, after years of rolling over everything in their path, are in the basement out West, and they’re tied with the Atlanta Hawks for the fewest wins on the year. Due to a multitude of injuries and key players like Kevin Durant leaving, they just haven’t been able to compete this season.

Denver will be on the road for this game, but they need to come out of this with a win regardless. The Warriors have won just one game against teams above .500 this season, and Denver can’t let that extend to two wins.

The Essentials

Who: Denver Nuggets (28-12, 11-7 away) @ Golden State Warriors (9-33, 6-14 home)

When: 8:30 p.m. MST

Where: Chase Center

How to watch/listen: Denver Stiffs does not condone piracy..unless its the romanticized 18th-century type. AltitudeTV where available. League Pass for non-Denver market viewers. Show up in San Francisco. 92.5 FM KKSE Altitude Sports Radio

Rival Blog: Golden State of Mind

Expected Starting Lineups:

IND: PG D’Angelo Russell, SG Alec Burks, SF Glenn Robinson III, SF Omari Spellman, PF Draymond Green

DEN: PG Monte Morris, SG Torrey Craig, SF Will Barton, PF Jerami Grant, C Nikola Jokic

Injuries: Stephen Curry (hand) Out, Jacob Evans (Face) Day-to-Day, Kevon Looney (Abdominal) Day-to-Day, Klay Thompson (Knee) Out, Gary Harris (Groin) Out, Paul Millsap (Knee) Out, Jamal Murray (Ankle) Out

Three Things to Watch

Denver’s Early Energy

Denver is following up a back-to-back by traveling West where the day is going to be an hour longer, and the game is starting really late at night. The Nuggets have been a slow-starting team this season, and they’re 22nd in points per game in first quarters. The Warriors are last in that same metric, but letting teams hang around is how you get upset on the road when you don’t just put the team away from the jump.

Denver’s 3-point Percentage

The Nuggets aren’t an outstanding 3-point shooting team. During their wins, they’re 15th in the NBA, but, during their losses, they’re dead last at 28.3 percent. The Nuggets do well to not be reliant on 3-point shooting, but it can still give a huge boost to the offense when those shots are falling.

Golden State’s Free Throws

Even without Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, the Warriors do one thing quite well on offense. They are solid at getting to the free-throw line. They’re 12th in the NBA in free-throw rate, and they’re ability to get to the line goes up in wins. They’re 3rd in the league in free-throw attempts per game in their wins. Denver does a good job of avoiding fouls, but anything can happen on the road.