The Warriors return to the scene of the crime tonight in Denver. In their last mile-high game, the short-handed Warriors got blown out by 28. In this game, however, it will be the Nuggets who are short-handed: Chauncey Billups and the Birdman, Chris Andersen, are out with injuries, and Carmelo Anthony will be a game-time decision with a bruised knee. The Nuggets have been struggling without Billups, going 2-6 with him out.
As for the Warriors, in their last game against the Nuggets they were not only without Biedrins and Turiaf, but also without Anthony Randolph. The presence of all three in the Warriors lineup should help this game be a lot more competitive. Should. In the Portland game, Biedrins and Turiaf did not look like they had a lot to give. Hopefully, a good stiff practice and a Nellie reaming have them in better shape to attack this game.
Look for the Warriors to run a lot of pick and roll. Nene and the diminutive Ty Lawson are perfect targets for this play. Will Biedrins actually take the ball to the hole instead of floundering around and dishing it off?
With Billups out and Anthony out or diminished, the Nuggets attack will likely center around Ty Lawson. Lawson struggled initially in the starting role, but has looked better the last two games, getting 23 and 9 in both games. Nellie had his point guards sag off Nash and Rondo in the Suns and Celtics games, and force them to become scorers. Both point guards had big nights, but their teams lost. Look for the same strategy tonight.
I will be watching Stephen Curry. He has struggled badly with foul trouble and silly turnovers in the last few games. In practice two days ago, Nellie went so far as to call him “soft.” Will he rise to the occasion when matched against another heralded rookie point guard? I think he will. Lawson will likely outperform him statistically, because he will have the ball in his hands all game, and Nellie will dare him to have a big game. But I think Curry will show up to play.
The Nuggets are +7.5 home favorites. Warriors.