Golden State Warriors vs Denver Nuggets Game 1 Preview
The #3 seed Golden State Warriors are facing the #6 seed Denver Nuggets in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
The Warriors had a 53-29 season under their star Steph Curry with a return of Klay Thompson to the roster. The big question around this matchup is the status of Curry. At the moment of writing this, Steph Curry is optimistic he will be in the starting lineup for the game.
The Nuggets are headlined by the reigning MVP in Nikola Jokic who is having another MVP-worthy season and finished the season 48-34. The Warriors are 6.5 point favorites and the over/under is set 223.5. The first two games of the series will be at Chase Center.
For the Warriors, the splash brothers are healthy and Draymond Green is ready to go on another championship run. The Nuggets are looking to bounce back after going out in disappointing fashion (getting swept from the Suns).
Return of Playoff Splash Brothers?
The Warriors are looking to bounce back after an unsuccessful time in the play-in tournament last year versus the Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies. The Warriors are led by Steph Curry who is averaging 25.5 points per game and just over 6 assists a game. His fellow splash brother is finally back after suffering an Achilles tear.
Klay Thompson’s return has helped the Warriors gain the third seed in the West through averaging 20 points per game and Draymond Green’s presence on the defensive side of the ball has been immense.
Unfortunately, the Warriors are not at full strength for this playoff run. They are missing big man James Wiseman who has been rehabbing from a torn meniscus he suffered in April of last season. Due to the absence of Wiseman, Golden State has seen the emergence of Jordan Poole, Gary Payton II, Porter Jr., Andrew Wiggins and Jonathan Kuminga. To add to their young talent, they also have playoff experienced players like Andre Iguodola and Kevon Looney.
- The questions that surround the Warriors are:
- Will we see playoff Curry and Klay this year?
- What will the Warriors do to contain Jokic?
Journey with Jokic
The Nuggets are also not at full strength but they have Nikola Jokic. That’s all you need to win basketball games. The most recent MVP of the NBA is having another MVP season, averaging 27 points per game, 13.8 rebounds and just under eight assists a game. In addition to Jokic, the Nuggets have Aaron Gordon, Jeff Green, Austin Rivers, Monte Morris, Will Barton and DeMarcus Cousins to contribute.
Denver is missing some big players in Michael Porter Jr. due to a back injury and their superstar point guard Jamal Murray due to a knee injury. The Nuggets are sixth in offensive rating but they are average on the defensive rate. It will be interesting to see their plan to stop Curry and Thompson.
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Warriors to Edge Joker
The Nuggets and Warriors game is superstar loaded and features some of the best places on the planet. One of the biggest matchups I am looking forward to is between Draymond Green and Nikola Jokic. The Warriors have the second-best defense in the league and the Nuggets have the sixth-best offense.
The loss of Wiseman for the season dramatically changes Golden State’s chances of stopping Jokic. The ability to stop Jokic is limited but I believe the key to winning this game is to limit his ability to create shots for his teammates. In other words, make others beat you instead of Jokic. It is definitely easier said than done.
Another key factor to this game is the efficiency of Thompson and Curry. Both of their shooting numbers have dropped from previous seasons so it will be important that Thompson and Curry both improve from their averages of around 43% from the field and 38% from three. It will be interesting to see as the playoffs start to see if Curry and Thompson can return to their playoff numbers and intensity.
My pick for this game is that the Warriors will take game one at the Chase Center. In my opinion, I believe the Nuggets will make it interesting and keep the game within 6.5 points. The energy in that building will be amazing because the fans will be eager to see the splash brothers back in action together and will help propel them to a big win.