Tonight the Warriors return to the team of the crime, if not the scene. Of course, this is not exactly the same team that the Warriors “defeated” in Denver. Back from injury are Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups. The Nuggets have been playing well since their return: they’ve won three straight and five of six at home.
Matchup problems abound in this game, beginning of course with Carmelo Anthony. He’s not quite Lebron’s size, at 6-8 230 lbs., but he’s still a load. Maggette may have a tough time staying out of foul trouble guarding him. Look for a heavy dose of Cartier Martin, which means Maggette might play a lot at the four.
Kenyon Martin ate up Anthony Randolph last game. Can the Warriors slow him down with starting power forward Devean George? I’m interested to see if Tolliver is effective against Martin. He looked mobile enough in the last game, and if he can actually hit a three, he might pull Martin out of the lane. But something tells me that Maggette may draw this assignment from the get-go. KMart is literally the same size as Carmelo Anthony.
Nene is the kind of center that Biedrins has struggled with at times. Big and powerful. He’s also mobile, for the triple-whammy. If Turiaf remains out, Beans’ number one priority will be to stay out of foul trouble. In fact, I wonder if Nellie might insert the bigger Hunter into the Turiaf starting slot?
Billups has been a go-to guy for the Nuggets in their last few games, to the extent that George Karl went with a Ty Lawson/Billups backcourt last game. Both Warriors guards will have a tough time keeping him off the low box, but Monta is the better choice obviously. Curry gets another chance to face-off with a ballyhooed rookie point guard.
The Warriors are +6 home dogs in this game. Why they do us like that? The Warriors have continued to astound with their phenomenal short-handed efforts this season. But there is so much inherent unpredictability with regard to injury and foul trouble in these situations, that I just don’t think they can be played. In particular against these Nuggets, I expect foul trouble to be a major issue before its all done.