Inside the Scope: Golden State Warriors (23-12) x Denver Nuggets (22-16)
- Tip Off: 5:00 p.m. (PT)
- Television: CSN-BA
Denver Nuggets Team Profile
- Offensive Efficiency: 104.9 (8th in NBA)
- Defensive Efficiency: 102.0 (tied for 13th in NBA)
- Points: Danilo Gallinari, 16.4 PPG
- Rebounds: Kenneth Faried, 10.2 RPG
- Assists: Ty Lawson, 6.8 APG
- Steals: Ty Lawson, 1.5 SPG
- Blocks: JaVale McGee, 2.0 BPG
- Field Goal Percentage: Kosta Koufos, 58.3% FG
- 3-Point Field Goal Percentage: Danilo Gallinari, 35.2% 3PT FG
Scope the Opposition: Roundball Mining Company.
Preview: At first glance, when watching the Denver Nuggets, one can easily be left with the impression that they are a little similar to the Heat and the Clippers because of the athletes present on the roster that love to get out in the open court for exciting scores. In addition, they do a great job of bulldozing down the paint for finishes right at the basket; whether it’s via drive or offensive rebounds.
But pay close attention, Denver isn’t a finesse team in actuality.
They are a relentless and punishing interior group that terrorizes opponents with their league leading paint scoring (55.9 points in the paint per game per Team Rankings). Every Nuggets basket seems to occur right in the painted area, which means they get a lot of high percentage shots.
The usual suspects are Andre Iguodala, JaVale McGee, Kenneth Faried and even Danilo Gallinari on a few occasions. The Nuggets’ frontcourt might not seem imposing physically, but they wear out opponents by getting up and down the court and shaking free for easy paint catches where they can finish at the rim.
One aspect that doesn’t get mentioned often is their toughness. It’s a fairly underrated aspect of George Karl’s unit.
The one guy that exhibits it best is by and large is Kenneth Faried.
The Manimal constantly fights opposing big men for rebounding position and always makes sure to hit opponents first. Whether it’s a forearm in the chest, an elbow in the back or simply just flat out pushing someone out of his way, Faried is tough as nails and his activity combined with his strength and athleticism make him a constant irritant for forwards and centers playing against him.
An argument could be made that the Nuggets forward has the best motor in the league given how hard he plays and how involved he is on every single play on the court whether it’s close to the ball or not.
Faried is no Dennis Rodman, but he typically gets underneath the skin of most guys because he rarely gets caught striking back, preferring instead to set the tempo early by always hitting opponents first and hitting them hard.
By himself, he gives the Nuggets some much-needed toughness, which in turn allows them to dominate the paint and the boards.
Although he’s not quite an enforcer, he is as close as it gets to it, and he’s blessed with tremendous athletic ability, which just frustrates every other team in the NBA.
Festus Ezeli, David Lee and Carl Landry will be called upon to match up with him physically tonight and how they respond to this battle will go a long way towards determining the winner of the contest.
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