After a couple days of rest the Denver Nuggets are back on their schedule grind with another difficult back to back in front of them. The first leg involves flying to San Francisco to face the Golden State Warriors. It’s been a bumpy start for the once mighty Warriors. Still rocking the core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green that delivered them four championships, it appears father time has finally caught up with Golden State. Draymond has been suspended indefinitely for trying to turn NBA games into UFC fights, Klay has accepted the futility of man’s efforts to slow the process of aging and Steph has to try to put up forty points every game to keep the Warriors heads above water. Still, the Chase Center remains one of the toughest places to play and the Warriors are still dangerous with two future hall of famers on the roster. Nikola Jokic and company will need to be ready.

The Essentials

Who: Denver Nuggets (24-11) vs Golden State Warriors (16-17)

When: 8:00PM MST

Where: Gentrified Oracle Arena. San Francisco, CA.

How to watch/listen: Denver Stiffs does not condone piracy….unless it’s the romanticized 18th century type. TNT. NBA League pass for those not in the Nuggets market. Altitude Radio 950AM. Show up dressed as a guru and explain to security you are here to reset Klay Thompson’s chakras to regain his youthful energy.

Rival Blog: Let’s Go Warriors

The Matchup

Position Nuggets Warriors Advantage
PG Jamal Murray Stephen Curry Warriors
SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Trayce Jackson-Davis Nuggets
SF Michael Porter Jr. Klay Thompson Nuggets
PF Aaron Gordon Johnathan Kuminga Nuggets
C Nikola Jokic Kevon Looney Nuggets
Bench Reggie Jackson, Julian Strawther, Christian Braun, Peyton Watson, Zeke Nnaji Chris Paul, Andrew Wiggins, Dario Saric, Brandin Podziemski Warriors


Injury report: Reggie Jackson – probable (calf), Vlatko Cancar – out (knee), Jalen Pickett – out (G-League), Hunter Tyson – out (G-League); Draymond Green – out (punching players), Gary Payton II – out (hamstring)

The Three Things

The thing to watch for: bench play

Dec 25, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Dario Saric (20) drives past Denver Nuggets guard Christian Braun (0) in the first half at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

If you remember between all the presents and eggnog and rum haze, when the Nuggets played the Warriors on Christmas the bench was absolutely abysmal. First half shift the Nuggets were up nine when the bench came in and with less than for minutes gone in the second quarter Michael Malone was forced to bring back the starters with the Warriors leading by two. Second half Jokic exits with the Nuggets up by five, comes back in during the fourth quarter with them trailing by one. Now, not many benches are bringing guys like Chris Paul and Andrew Wiggins to the table but the Nuggets absolutely need to get a better effort from their reserves unless they want all the momentum to swing to Golden State’s side when Jokic goes out. It will be an incredibly difficult task to get it back on the Warriors homecourt.

The thing to remember: the Nuggets don’t lose to bad teams

Whether or not Golden State is a bad team is subjective but they do currently hold a sub .500 record. That’s good news for Denver who is yet to lose to a team with such a record. As I highlighted in the intro, this is a dynasty at the end of their rope. In all likelihood Green is playing his last season in Golden State (maybe the NBA entirely) and Klay has openly admitted to not being the player he used to be. It’s somewhat striking to see a team once so mighty regress the way they have (remember this core is still just a season and a half removed from winning a title) and perhaps that makes many, including myself, hesitant to believe they truly are a team who loses more games than they win and ultimately headed to the lottery. Tonight will be the toughest test yet to Denver’s perfect record against losing teams.

The thing to bet: Jokic triple double (+145)

Alright, it’s been a rough stretch for TTTB so we’re going to gambler’s fallacy this thing and say we’re due, as is Nikola who has just one triple-double in his last nine games. It’s been the assists that have kept him from getting it done with him hitting double digits on those just twice in the past nine games (one of which being the aforementioned triple-double game). I’m definitely gambling on this one but with the Warriors lack of size the points and rebounds will find their way to double digits naturally so really we’re only gambling on him diming it up tonight. At +145 it’s good enough for me to take the chance.