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Warriors vs. Nuggets Preview: Dubs can’t afford carelessness in Denver

Nuggets pulverized the champs last year in Denver; GSW has to minimize DEN second chance opportunities to prevail.

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NBA: Preseason-Golden State Warriors at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

How to watch

Who: Warriors (6-3) vs. Nuggets (5-4)

When: Saturday, November 4 at 6:00 p.m. (PST)

Where: Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado

How to Watch: NBCSBA, ALT

Radio: 95.7 The Game


GSW: PG Stephen Curry, SG Klay Thompson, SF Kevin Durant, PF Draymond Green, C Zaza Pachulia

DEN: PG Jamal Murray, SG Gary Harris, SF Wilson Chandler, PF Paul Milsap, C Nikola Jokic


Warriors: None

Nuggets: Juacho Hernangomez (mononucleosis)

Buddy Blog: The Denver Stiffs

The world champion Golden State Warriors are the overwhelming tsunami of basketball excellence that has, for the time being, washed away the title dreams of an entire league of professional hoopers.

Recently, though, this has appeared to bore them. The disinterested champs are showing a heart-stopping, but ultimately hilarious habit of sleepwalking through quarter long spells. It’s only after they notice that their opponent actually expects to steal a victory that they activate “Apocalyptic Splash Rain Dance Mode.”

This is a surging, giant wave of dominant play that casts a horrifying shadow over the mountains of the opposing basketball nations before crashing down with unprejudiced damnation. This wave is the reason they lead the NBA in scoring by a large margin (Golden State is 1st with 120 points per game; Orlando is second at 114.9). This wave is inevitable.

…Mostly inevitable?

Dubs giving up too many extra possessions

There have been a few times this season where the Death Wave never really got going due to avoidable gaffes such as turnovers and a lack of focus on rebounding. The most recent shameful lapse was the 26 turnover catastrophe against the Detroit Pistons in Oakland. A visibly annoyed head coach Steve Kerr complained about the crappy play, via The Athletic:

“This has to do with a complete lack of focus, fundamentals. We're throwing the ball all over the place. Some passes are just hitting guys in the shoes, even when they're not turnovers. It's focus and execution.” — Steve Kerr

To avoid Coach Kerr’s ire and secure home court advantage the Warriors need to value the ball and not hand opportunistic teams extra possessions via sloppy passing or apathy on the boards.

One positive note is that the champs are in the top half of the league in opponent’s field goal percentage on defense, holding the other guys to 44% shooting for the young season. The problem with this is that they are the very worst team in basketball at stopping the other guys from gobbling up offensive rebounds (champs give up 12.8 offensive boards per game, dead last in NBA).

Giving up those second chance opportunities is partially a result of playing the “small ball” style against the NBA’s giants. Unfortunately, there are many other times where the Warriors simply stop moving and stare after missed shots, allowing their hungrier opponents to snatch extra possessions in the paint from offensive rebounds.

Denver is unwelcoming to the Dubs

If the champs don’t get a handle on the poor fundamentals in Denver, they will be embarrassed. The Denver Nuggets are 8th in the league this season in offensive rebounds per game. Their big men Nikola Jokic, Paul Milsap, Kenneth “The Manimal” Faried, and Mason Plumlee will test the Dubs’ physicality. They will not hesitate to roll up their proverbial sleeves and get the dirty work done, which is a challenge for the sometimes uninterested Golden Emperors.

The Nuggets are proving to be quite the handful for the Warriors in their friendly confines: the Pepsi Center. Surprisingly, since the Warriors upended the Nuggets in the playoffs in 2013, the Dubs have only won 4 out of 7 in Denver during the regular season. The last time they met in the high altitude, Stephen Curry stumbled to 11 points on 4 of 18 shooting from the field (1 of 11 from three) in a 132-110 humiliation at the Nuggets’ hands. Elite big man Jokic pounded the Warriors into the dust, setting career highs of 12 assists and 21 rebounds while serving up 17 points.

Jokic does damage down low with a beautiful combination of brute strength and smooth ball skills. He leads his team in scoring (16 ppg), rebounding (11.9) and assists (5.0.)

He doesn’t even need to score to get a double double, as evidenced by his 8 point, 16 rebound, 10 assist game against the Toronto Raptors.


If the Dubs want to win, they better not lose focus on that guy. This is gonna be a tough game on the road, but I expect the champs to handle their business. The Nuggets will be on the second night of a back to back, and the Warriors should have the fresher legs.

Also, the Warriors are hella good.

Gold-blooded Prediction: Warriors 125, Nuggets 109

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