Something incredibly rare happened the last time the Golden State Warriors visited the Pepsi Center, located 5,280 feet above sea level, to face the Denver Nuggets; they lost a regular season game, just their third loss for the season, 40 games in. The Warriors got the ball down just two points, 107-109, and Stephen Curry found himself matched against Danilo Gallinari. In an incredibly unexpected sequence, Gallinari stole the ball from Steph, effectively icing the game as it lead to a Nuggets breakaway dunk and a two-possession lead.
This time around, the Warriors will not only have Kevin Durant, but Draymond Green will also dress, as he did not dress for the last meeting. Even so, the Nuggets are not a team to be taken lightly at home, as the extreme altitude creates one of the leagues strongest home court advantages. Opposing players struggle to adapt to the lack of oxygen, something Andre Iguodala can attest to, as his Nuggets won 38 games at home in 2012-13.
The Nuggets, headed by former Warriors assistant Mike Malone, have several exciting young players, no more so than Nikola Jokic. The 6’10’’ Serbian dazzled against Team USA in the Olympics, pouring in 25 points and six rebounds in group-stage loss. Coming off a game of (trying to) guard DeMarcus Cousins, Zaza Pachulia will have his hands full with the extremely skilled Jokic, whose footwork, vision, and touch are impressive for any player, especially one entering his sophomore season. On the other end, Gallinari will have to keep up with Kevin Durant, an impossible matchup for nearly everyone in the league.
The Warriors will look to capitalize on a Nuggets defense (or lack thereof) that let six Minnesota Timberwolves score in the double-digits in their last preseason loss. Unfortunately this game follows the same trend as the Sacramento Kings game, as it will not be televised. Obviously it is a minor complaint in the grand scheme of things, but this is a bit disappointing when there seems to be so many possible options for content creators to share their product with their fans.
When: Friday, October 14 at 6:00 p.m. Pacific time
Where: Pepsi Center - Denver, CO
Coverage: 95.7 FM (No national television coverage)