- Tip Off: 7:30 PM PT
- Television: CSN-BA, ESPN2
Denver Nuggets Team Profile
- Offensive Efficiency: 103.6 (7th in NBA playoffs)
- Defensive Efficiency: 111.7 (13th in NBA playoffs)
Scope the Opposition: Roundball Mining Company.
Preview: Depending on your allegiances, the Denver Nuggets are either in trouble or right where they want to be.
Fans of the Nuggets will quickly point out that Golden State’s hot perimeter shooting simply cannot be sustained. The Warriors are converting 46.8 percent of their 3-point shots in the series so far, which is an impressive figure all by itself.
But in addition, the Dubs’ mid-range shooting has actually been better. According to NBA.com’s advanced stats tool, the Warriors are converting an impressive 56.8 percent of their mid-range shots in this series. That figure is tops amongst all playoff teams and is bound to decrease at some point.
Combine that with Denver’s relentless interior attack that’s seen them manufacture 65 shots right at the basket through two contests and one can see why Nuggets fans are optimistic heading into Game 3 tonight at Oracle Arena.
But there’s also a frightening other side of the coin for George Karl and company.
Denver is forcing 17.5 turnovers per game in this series and yet they needed an Andre Miller out of body experience to pull out a victory in Game 1. In addition, despite the miscues, Mark Jackson’s unit was victorious in the second head-to-head playoff matchup between the teams by double digits.
As punishing as Denver’s inside scoring has been in this series, Golden State is right on their heels. The Warriors have attempted 57 shots directly at the rim against the Nuggets so far in this series and are a mere minus-six in terms of field goals made in these situations when compared to Denver.
This fact in itself might just force Karl’s hand and change his starting lineup. Denver not only needs rim protection, they also require a mobile big man capable of defending the pick-and-roll.
Indeed, part of the reason Stephen Curry and his teammates have been so proficient from 3-point land and mid-range stems from Denver’s inability to contain them off the dribble in the ball-screen game.
The Warriors ball handlers are simply blowing by their initial defender and kicking the ball out to open shooters. Also, Golden State has aggressively attacked mismatches in this series and scored with great regularity off them.
Whether it’s a big man defending a perimeter player or a point guard defending a bigger swingman, no one on the Nuggets team has been spared.
Also, the Warriors have dominated the rebounding battle and that must absolutely concern Karl. The shooting might fluctuate from quarter to quarter, but if Jackson’s bunch upholds this trend and reduces their miscues, Denver might be fighting an uphill battle at Oracle Arena tonight.
The Nuggets might get some relief on the rebounding front if Kenneth Faried plays better tonight when compared to the ineffective minutes he played in Game 2.
Nonetheless, Game 3 should offer a lot of intrigue and adjustments. Playoff games obviously have ebb and flows, but it’s worth noting that through two contests, the Golden State Warriors have looked like the better team.
We find out if they can replicate that tonight.
Quick note: No game postgame reactions (grades) tonight.
Statistical support provided by NBA.com.
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