Date: Saturday Feb. 3, 2018
Time: 6:00 p.m. PST
Location: Pepsi Center—Denver, CO
Radio: 95.7 The Game
Buddy Blog/Enemy Blog: Denver Stiffs
Golden State: David West (out, bereavement), Jordan Bell (out, ankle)
Denver: Paul Millsap (out, wrist), Mason Plumlee (out, calf)
Rocky Mountain Confident
The Denver Nuggets beat the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night in one of the best games this season. Paul George hit a dramatic three to tie the game with 1.4 seconds left, leaving the match destined for overtime. From a half-court inbound, the Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic Tom Brady’d the ball to Gary Harris who hit the walk-off three for the win. It was tight. Watch below if you missed it.
Every win matters for Denver, a team in the midst of a playoff race. The Nuggets beat Golden State in their most recent matchup (TRAP GAME) with five players scoring in double figures. As the Dubs travel to Denver after a late game in Sacramento, the Nuggets are in a similar situation to trap the Warriors.
Point guard Jamal Murray is balling with a ton of confidence after he hung 33 points on the Thunder. Murray, a shooting dynamo, has scored 30 points or more in three of his last six games. Keep in mind Murray can’t even buy a beer. He turns 21 this month. Four weeks ago, Denver’s long-term point guard options were fuzzy. It’s still too soon to tell, but Murray could prove to be the answer to Denver’s thin-aired point guard prayers.
Nikola Jokic matches up well against the Warriors. The 22-year-old is a triple threat of scoring, passing, and rebounding. He is a legitimate NBA star— not quite an athletic unicorn but boasts a unique style of play in today’s league. He also starred in Denver’s Thursday win and will look to continue his confident play of late.
The Nuggets are a solid prediction for the seven seed in the West (the Pelicans should slip after DeMarcus Cousins’ achilles injury). When Paul Millsap returns at the end of the month, watch out for the Nuggets.
I normally don’t care about Warrior turnovers because the their style of play and pace naturally generates mistakes. Against Sacramento though, the Warriors had 25 turnovers with 6 minutes left in the fourth quarter. That’s too many mistakes against any team, especially Sacramento. After arriving in Denver at 3 a.m., let’s see if the Warriors can keep their focus early in the game, when they usually struggle with silly turnovers.
With Andre Iguodala and David West out, Coach Steve Kerr featured new rotations on Friday night. Kevin Durant and Draymond Green were pulled with six minutes left in the first quarter and played the entire second quarter. It’s likely Kerr repeats this on Saturday.
David West will be out again tonight so expect a similar distribution of minutes for the big guys (JaVale McGee played 11 minutes on Friday). Patrick McCaw played 27 minutes and failed to score. Expect his minutes to decrease sharply with the return of a fresh Iguodala.
The offense was electric in the fourth quarter in Sacramento. Durant and Thompson combined 10-15 from three. Denver’s wings will likely struggle to guard both when they share the floor.
Remember, it’s February
Tonight is the second of a back to back. It’s entirely possible that Kerr benches one or two of the big four in Denver. Anything can happen.