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Warriors vs. Nuggets Preview: Is another impressive W in the works?

Can Golden State repeat their stellar performance against Denver?

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Denver Nuggets v Golden State Warriors Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

It was just 11 days ago that the Golden State Warriors hosted the Denver Nuggets, and put together one of their finest performances of the season. They beat the Western Conference contenders 116-107, and it looked sustainable. The Dubs genuinely looked like a high-caliber team.

Denver will surely be motivated to exact some revenge, and they’ve won four straight since that loss — despite Jamal Murray suffering a season-ending injury in that game. This should be a fun one.

The deets

Who: Golden State Warriors (29-30) vs. Denver Nuggets (38-20)

When: 7:00 p.m. PT

Where: Chase Center, San Francisco, California

TV: ESPN (available on fuboTV)

Projected starting lineups:

Warriors: Stephen Curry, Kent Bazemore Kelly Oubre Jr., Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, Kevon Looney
Nuggets: Facundo Campazzo, Will Barton, Michael Porter Jr., Aaron Gordon, Nikola Jokić

Last results:

Warriors: Lost to the Wizards 118-114 — 3-2 in their last 5 games
Nuggets: Beat the Blazers 106-105 — 4-1 in their last 5 games

Team ratings (garbage-time adjusted, per Cleaning The Glass):

Warriors: 110.0 offense (22nd), 111.2 defense (8th), -1.2 net (19th)
Nuggets: 118.6 offense (4th), 112..8 defense (15th), +5.8 net (5th)

Injury report:

QUESTIONABLE: Juan Toscano-Anderson
OUT: Kent Bazemore
OUT: Damion Lee
OUT: Eric Paschall
OUT: James Wiseman
OUT: Klay Thompson

OUT: Monte Morris
OUT: Jamal Murray

The story

The Warriors have been playing much better basketball as of late, but they’re still treading water, a game below .500. They’re comfortably in the play-in tournament, but have the worst seed.

They’ve got only 13 games left, and while the schedule is light from here on out, beating a team like Denver not only has a huge impact on the standings, but also helps them prove that they can make noise in the playoffs.

Players to watch

Warrior to watch: Steph Curry.

Curry’s 11-game streak of scoring at least 30 points — which featured five games of at least 40 points — came to a screeching halt against the Wizards, when the two-time MVP shot just 7-for-25, and 2-for-14 from distance.

Steve Kerr is fond of saying that Curry doesn’t have consecutive bad games, and while that’s not entirely true, it’s close enough that he becomes must-watch TV — even more than usual — when following up a stinker. Curry torched the Nuggets for 53 points the last time these teams played, and he’s back at the familiar rims of Chase Center after five games away. Look for him to dominate.

Nugget to watch: Nikola Jokić.

Curry has worked his way into the MVP discussion, but the overwhelming favorite is still Jokić, who is averaging 26.4 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 8.7 assists per game, playing much better defense than he gets credit for, and hasn’t missed a game all season. He’s one of the league’s best passers and best shooters — and also 6’11”.

There’s no way to shut him down, so you might as well just enjoy watching him, and hope the Warriors win despite him, not because of him.

Matchup to watch: Draymond Green vs. everyone in a Nuggets jersey.

After regressing for a few weeks, Green is back to playing Defensive Player of the Year caliber defense and, other than Curry’s offensive wizardry, it’s been the most entertaining part of the Warriors recent run.

He’ll have his hands full against Denver’s superb offense. Not only do the Nuggets employ a handful of high-caliber offensive players, but they run an almost unfathomable amount of cuts, and Jokić has a brilliant ability to seemingly always find his teammates. One of Green’s best defensive attributes — in addition to, well, everything — is his ability to disrupt cutters and rim-runners, whether by deflecting the pass or just knocking them off their route.

If the Warriors want to win, Green will have to be a havoc-wrecker, especially off ball.

Keys to victory

  • Another other-worldly Steph Curry performance
  • Limit the fouls committed and all-around defensive discipline
  • Strong play from Andrew Wiggins, Kelly Oubre Jr., and Kent Bazemore Jordan Poole

Get another Denver Dub, Dubs.

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