Golden State Warriors (32-6) vs. Denver Nuggets (18-22)
1 p.m. PST
Oracle Arena - Oakland, CA
TV: CSN BA | Radio: KNBR 680
Buddy Blog: Denver Stiffs
There was a stunningly brief period of time when an intense rivalry seemed to be developing between the Golden State Warriors and Denver Nuggets -- something like what actually developed between the Warriors and L.A. Clippers.
Most of the ingredients were there: coaches who didn't seem particularly fond of one another, "MoleGate", an intense battle with something on the line, and the appearance of future battles to come.
But as quickly as it had the appearances of becoming any kind of actual thing, it was gone: George Karl was dismissed after the beat down he took from the Warriors. Andre Iguodala switched sides. Mark Jackson, the engineer of the old starting lineup switch-a-roo act, would later be dismissed by the Warriors. And then while the Warriors added pieces, the Nuggets...
I would love to try to bring some drama to the narrative of this game, but it's really hard to get around the bottom line: the Golden State Warriors are
probably going to win this one.
Maybe even big.
And I would feel worse about saying something like that if our friends at Denver Stiffs weren't pretty much thinking the same thing:
Putting it bluntly, the Nuggets are in a crummy spot.
Monday's opponent, conversely, appear to be on a highway to NBA heaven and I fear that our Nuggets will be roadkill on said highway come Monday evening when the game is over...Clearly, the Nuggets and Warriors - opponents in the 2013 playoffs who competed in a fiercely and closely contested first round battle - are heading in opposite directions.
You can read more about the Nuggets' season over at Denver Stiffs, but "crummy" is about the best way to describe it: this Nuggets team is neither competing for anything nor the worst of the worst. They're just sort of making their way through the season like some of us might try to just make it through a work day after having too much of a great time out with the buddies the night before: you're living out the pain of your poor decisions and just sort of waiting for the day to end so you can start over from square one.
Nevertheless -- just to keep myself from getting too overconfident here -- where the Nuggets might be able to make today's game interesting is on the boards: even if Golden State's top-rated defense keeps Denver from hitting shots, the Warriors are in the bottom third of the league in defensive rebounding while the Nuggets are in the top 6 of offensive rebounding. Both Kenneth Faried and Jusuf Nurkic are strong on the boards while the Warriors' post rotation has been either thin or less than 100% (or both) for the entire season. So maybe with a strong rebounding performance by the Nuggets and some untimely turnovers by the Warriors, an upset can occur?
I mean, sure...but it's doubtful, especially with the Warriors playing at home.
As reported by Diamond Leung yesterday, "A victory Monday against Denver would be the 16th in a row at home for the Warriors, tying the franchise record set in Philadelphia." If Denver did end up beating Golden State at home today, it would be just about the only thing they have in common with the San Antonio Spurs right now aside from being located east of Oakland, CA. And with a holiday crowd behind the Warriors, it just doesn't seem likely that would happen.
Get the win, Dubs, and help us start our weeks right.