With less than a week to go in the regular season, the Warriors are in solid shape in the Western Conference playoff race, but they still have to close the deal. Now, in the final five games of the season, the Warriors will look to win the games they’re expected to win to ensure that the first 77 contests weren’t for naught.
With the finish line in sight, next up will be the Denver Nuggets, with whom the Dubs have split the two-game season series thus far. Most recently, the Nuggets handed the Warriors a 123-116 defeat on Jan. 15 in one of Golden State’s most disappointing defensive efforts of the season.
The Nuggets have been riddled with injuries all season, however, and Thursday night’s matchup will be no different. Looking to win its third straight game, Golden State has a chance to head into the playoffs with some momentum if it can knock off teams like the Nuggets to close out the regular season.
Denver Nuggets (33-44) Projected Lineup:
PG: Ty Lawson
SG: Randy Foye
SF: Quincy Miller
PF: Kenneth Faried
C: Timofey Mozgov
Key Bench Players: Evan Fournier, Darrell Arthur, Jan Vesely
Take Advantage of the Opportunity
The Nuggets will likely be playing without Wilson Chandler, who has missed eight straight games, and J.J. Hickson, who has also missed the last eight due to an ACL tear. Nate Robinson will also be absent due to the same injury.
In short, the Nuggets are hurting, so they won’t be bringing their best to the table. The Warriors have favorable matchups across the board, including the rare instance in which their bench even stacks up favorably. With many of the Nuggets’ best players out, the Warriors have an opportunity to take full advantage.
Make Randy Foye Earn His Points
In the Warriors’ loss to the Nuggets, the perimeter defense was uncharacteristically lacking. Denver hit 12 of its 24 three-point attempts, including a 4-of-7 performance from shooting guard Randy Foye. Much of the damage was done when the starters came out—all five starters had positive plus-minus ratings, while the bench combined for a -38 rating. (Sound familiar?)
If the Warriors as a whole can limit the wide-open opportunities Foye has beyond the arc, including when the bench comes in, the Dubs should be in solid shape. The Nuggets shooting guard has been relatively hot recently, but so too has Golden State’s defense.
6:30 PM PST, April 10, 2014
ORACLE Arena, Oakland, CA
Radio: KNBR 680 AM