- Tip Off: 7:30 PM PT
- Television: TNT, CSN-BA
Denver Nuggets Team Profile
- Offensive Efficiency: 95.7 (10th in NBA playoffs)
- Defensive Efficiency: 91.7 (4th in NBA playoffs)
Scope the Opposition: Roundball Mining Company.
Preview: With David Lee scheduled to miss the remainder of the postseason with an injury; the consensus is that this series is over.
The Denver Nuggets were victorious in Game 1 without Kenneth Faried thanks in large part to a sensational performance by Andre Miller. Denver’s backup guard tortured the Warriors’ backcourt for 18 fourth quarter points and the game-winning layup.
With Faried rejoining his teammates and Golden State losing their lone All-Star, the mountain the Warriors must climb just gained some altitude and became frostier.
By no means is this a eulogy however.
Although replicating the Game 1 effort on the road will be a tough task, the Warriors coped with Lee’s absence in the final period. The addition of Faried certainly complicates things for Mark Jackson, but at this time he must find creative ways to lessen the blow of missing his starting power forward.
The idea of running players into the ground is never a good one, but Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut are going to be heavily relied upon.
The Australian center was simply dominant defensively in his 31 minutes on the court in Game 1. With Bogut on the floor, Golden State held Denver to a mere 48.1 percent field goal shooting in the restricted area per NBA.com’s advanced stats tool.
Whenever the big man sat down for a breather, the Nuggets got far easier looks at the rim. Indeed, the Nuggets converted 66.7 percent of their shots in the restricted area with Bogut riding the pine.
He is simply a monstrous defensive player. Staggering his minutes and increasing his load to 36 minutes might just be the way to go.
Also, Bogut’s understanding of the Nuggets’ defensive scheme was part of the reason the Warriors scored far easier with the Aussie on the court. He adjusted his ball screen angles accordingly and rolled to the hoop when needed.
In other instances, he pick-and-popped and allowed Jarrett Jack to create driving lanes and get into the paint. His toughness and smarts help the Warriors tick.
Stephen Curry on the other hand played 43 minutes against the Nuggets in Game 1, and the five minutes where he rested were a little problematic.
The sample size is awfully small, but NBA.com’s advanced stats tool tells us the Warriors converted 33.3 percent of their shots with their leading scorer off the court.
The issue in this case was ball handling. The Nuggets trapped the pick-and-roll and applied token pressure in the corners. The Dubs ended up rushing some of their possessions or simply getting caught with nowhere to go.
Consequently, they took low percentage shots. Consider this stat: the Warriors were minus-10 with their starting point guard on the bench.
Jackson has two options here: play Curry 48 minutes in the Mile High city (unlikely) or flank Jack with another playmaker whenever Steph gets a breather. Keep in mind, this decision must come after choosing to go with small-ball or not.
Golden State doesn’t exactly have a multitude of playmakers sitting on the bench, but giving Richard Jefferson some minutes next to Klay Thompson and Jack might help the Dubs survive for a few minutes.
The Warriors are plus-11 with Curry and Bogut on the floor so far in this series. However, remove one of them from the equation, and the scoring differential is negative.
In other words, foul trouble notwithstanding, the duo of Curry and Bogut simply cannot sit at the same time.
Statistical support provided by NBA.com.
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