- Tip Off: 6:30 PM PT
- Television: TNT, CSN-BA, TSN2 (Canada)
Denver Nuggets Team Profile
- Offensive Efficiency: 103.4 (6th in NBA playoffs)
- Defensive Efficiency: 110.7 (tied for 14th in NBA playoffs)
Scope the Opposition: Roundball Mining Company.
Preview: The Denver Nuggets worked for six months to gain home court advantage. They were a little shaky on the road but dominant at home. In the span of roughly three hours, they lost that perk in Game 2 by virtue of their defeat at the hands of the Golden State Warriors.
Thus, tonight they play the most important game of their season. If George Karl and company pull out a victory at Oracle Arena tonight, just like that they regain the edge they lost. The Nuggets would have Game 5 at home as well as a potential Game 7.
The other side of that is the crippling nature of a loss tonight. A defeat puts them in one loss away from elimination.
Hence, it stands to reason they will come out with their best effort of the series tonight.
But there might be one problem for Denver in Game 4 tonight: the Warriors are more than ready.
In every single game in this series, the Dubs have taken whatever punch Karl’s unit has thrown and kept fighting. At no point have they ever folded under pressure.
The Warriors have displayed an incredible amount of resilience in these playoffs and that’s hurt the Nuggets.
Denver opened the postseason with a half-court trap that completely caught Golden State off guard. Early in games, the Warriors have had issues anticipating the provenance of the extra defender and consequently struggled with the defensive pressure.
This partly explains the numerous miscues. The Dubs are averaging 19.3 turnovers in this series, which should be a huge disaster. But in actuality, the lack of ball security has kept the series close in favor of Denver.
The Warriors have been all over the other statistical categories:
- Edge in field goal percentage in the series
- Edge in field goals made per game in the series
- Edge in 3-point percentage in the series
- Edge in 3-pointers made per game in the series
- Edge in offensive rebounds in this series
- Edge in total rebounds in this series
Provided the Dubs maintain these advantages, they should have an opportunity to close out Game 4 with a victory at home.
The Nuggets still have a few options though. Kenneth Faried has mostly been a shell of his healthy self. He hasn’t provided his typical impact at both ends of the floor.
There is a chance he might do so in Game 4, but it will be difficult. Andrew Bogut and Carl Landry have been extremely physical with him both on the boards and when defended by him, but he has not yet been able to counter.
His ankle might still be an issue and the Warriors’ frontline has pushed him around for the most part. Unless he imposes his physicality and will on the game, his teammates might be in trouble.
Also, Denver needs some bench relief quite frankly. Whether it’s Kosta Koufos, Andre Miller or JaVale McGee, they need impact plays from their second unit.
Whether it’s shooting, rebounding or defense, the Nuggets haven’t had much to show for on this front in the series with the exception of Game 1.
The biggest obstacle for Karl is the most obvious one: Stephen Curry.
This might be an oversimplification, but Denver’s lone victory in this series came in a contest in which the Warriors’ leading scorer struggled. Thus, putting the clamps on him and smothering the Golden State offense is the biggest trick left up Karl’s sleeve.
It’s worth noting there’s a reason he hasn’t unleashed that tactic: It simply may not exist right now.
Quick Nuggets notes: So far in this series, Ty Lawson is averaging 10 points and 4 assists per game on 39.3 percent field goal shooting in the second halves of games.
Quick Warriors notes: As a stretch four (in last two games), Harrison Barnes is averaging 21.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game on 55.2 percent field goal shooting.
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