Golden State Warriors Vs. Denver Nuggets Preview/Game Thread

April 6, 2012; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson during the first half against the Utah Jazz at Energy Solutions Arena. Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE
7:30 pm PST tip-off
TV: CSN Bay Area/ESPN - Radio: KNBR 680
Blog Buddy: Denver Stiffs

In EvanZ's detailed tank predictions for the "Subpar 6" the other day, he only projected one win but the next narrowest spread was against tonight's opponent, the Denver Nuggets.

Yet while we are enthusiastically pro-tank here at GSoM, Nate Timmons of SB Nation's Denver Stiffs describes these next two games against the Warriors as important to their playoff chase.

The Warriors are really the only team left on the Nuggets schedule who are not battling for a playoff spot. One could argue that the Timberwolves, whom the Nuggets play two more times, at 5.5 behind the Nuggets are still in the hunt, so Denver needs these next two games against the Warriors to make life a tough easier on themselves. We can all attest to the fact that Arron Afflalo and his teammates don't like making their basketball lives easier and we should expect a close game tonight.

If you're on board with the tank, this is good news - a hungry team fighting for a playoff spot might provide us an entertaining loss on a Saturday night.

But if you're looking for wins just for pride at home, there might be hope in Denver's defense over the past 10 games - as Timmons alluded to in his preview, it hasn't been the stingiest.

Denver's defensive efficiency rating of 103.6 is the 9th worst in the league (via Hoopdata). Over the past 10 games (in which they've gone 5-5), they've averaged a defensive efficiency rating of 110.26, which - for perspective - would be worse than the Charlotte Bobcats' league-worst 107.1 rating on the season. Speaking of Charlotte, the one bright spot defensively in this 10 game span was Denver's 99-88 road win over the 7-46 Bobcats.

Among the Nuggets' defensive liabilities might be a familiar face, as Matt Steinmetz of CSN Bay Area described somewhat charitably.

If Harrington is on the floor, the Warriors need to be aware of him because Harrington is very aggressive. At the other end, it makes sense to occupy Harrington because he’s not the best defender in the league.

In other words, even though the Nuggets' record might suggest them to be a semi-tough opponent and they should be motivated to get a win, their defense might leave them vulnerable to a loss on the road at Oracle if the Warriors - the 7th best offense statistically and the league's second best 3-point shooting team at 38.7% - get hot tonight.

And that could make this game a threat to our tanking hopes, for those that have them, of course.
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