Preview: Golden State Warriors (22-33) at Denver Nuggets (30-26)
After an impressive home win Saturday night against the Denver Nuggets (30-26), the Golden State Warriors (22-33) will take on this very same Nuggets team tonight in a rematch that will be held at the Pepsi Center (tip off 6:00 pm PDT).
Denver is a mere 5-5 in their last 10 games and currently sits in the eighth spot of the Western Conference standings. If the Nuggets are going to make the playoffs, they are going to have to win games like the one they have tonight against Golden State given how difficult their schedule is the rest of the way. Have a look below:
- Wednesday April 11th: Minnesota
- Friday April 13th (Jason!): at Los Angeles Lakers
- Sunday April 15th: Houston
- Monday April 16th: at Houston
- Wednesday April 18th: Los Angeles Clippers
- Saturday April 21st: at Phoenix
- Sunday April 22nd :Orlando
- Wednesday April 25th:at Oklahoma City
- Thursday April 26th: at Minnesota
The Nuggets’ remaining schedule is essentially a combination of playoff and fringe postseason teams. If they are able to manage a .500 record against the remainder of their opponents it may well be enough to get them into the playoffs; mind you they cannot afford to reproduce the type of game that they had against the Warriors on April 7th if that is going to happen.
Indeed, in their last encounter against the Warriors, Denver was thoroughly outplayed, which resulted in a double-digit loss. George Karl’s unit surrendered a red hot 52.3 percent shooting night from the field and 38.1 percent shooting from 3-point range.
Part of the problem for Denver was their transition defense that failed to travel to Oracle Arena. The Warriors were able to leak out after rebounds and turnovers and score 25 fast break points. The Dubs also outrebounded their opponents (41 to 35) and managed to pull down 14 offensive boards.
Combine those figures with the Dubs’ 58 points in the paint, and it was a clear recipe for disaster for the Nuggets. The pounding on the interior came as a result of drives, post ups and put backs, which forced Karl to put extra emphasis on defending the interior, which led to multiple open looks from deep.
With that said, Denver was still able to execute their offense when they weren’t busy coughing up the ball.
The Warriors were quite lazy on defense and relied a little too heavily on swiping at the ball as their primary focus, which was good this time around given the miscues it forced; but their defense was exposed nonetheless. Whenever the Nuggets swung the ball from one side of the court to the next and then drove to the hoop, they often got easy shots right at the rim. The court opened up even more when the Nuggets ran multiple pick-and-rolls within the same possession, as it left Golden State players confused and a few steps slow on their rotations.
In addition, for whatever reason, Mark Jackson’s squad thought it was a good idea to allow Al Harrington to get whatever shots he wanted. He had it going from just about every spot on the court and yet the Warriors rarely tried to make him work for his points. He was often left unattended at the 3-point line where he proceeded to convert 5-of-7 attempts and also benefitted from a few defensive switches, which allowed him to work on a smaller player down on the block.
It will be interesting to see if Harrington gets going again, what strategy the Dubs use to try and slow him down.
Given that the previous game was played in the Bay, it’s certainly understandable that Warriors players displayed more energy; but with the game tonight being held at the Pepsi Center, one would expect for those fortunes to be reversed and for Denver to play stronger, faster and harder.
Ty Lawson — who put up 21 points on 8-for-13 shooting from the field — will probably drive the Warriors crazy tonight with his quickness as he gets up and down the court and Andre Miller will probably be a little slower but just as in control as his teammate.
Except an exciting game in which both teams get into the triple digits.
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