Stephen Curry went absolutely bonkers the last time the Denver Nuggets and the Golden State Warriors met. Will he go off again? Or, will the Nuggets humble the future Hall of Famer and score another victory?
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HOME TEAM: Golden State Warriors (29-30, 17-10 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Stephen Curry
- SG: Andrew Wiggins
- SF: Kelly Oubre Jr.
- PF: Draymond Green
- C: Kevon Looney
Stephen Curry is from planet Earth after all. Proving that he’s human, Curry relented to the gods of regression and shot just 7 of 25 from the field (2 of 14 from deep) and finished with only 18 points in the Warriors’ 118-114 road loss to the Washington Wizards on Thursday.
But it’s going to take more than just a single bad game for any defense to forget about Curry. Denver knows it. The two-time league MVP has an average of 44.0 points on 59.6 FG% and 51.7 3FG% shooting in the first two games against the Nuggets this season.
It could be remembered that Curry exploded for 53 points (14-24 FG, 10-18 33FG) in the Warriors’ 116-107 home win over Denver earlier this month. Golden State’s defense also did its homework in that game, limiting the Nuggets to only 47.0 FG% and forcing them to commit 19 turnovers.
The Warriors are a sneaky good defensive team that’s second in the league with 15.5 turnovers forced per game and a 13.3 opponents’ turnover percentage –7th overall. Golden State is 4-1 against the spread in its past five games as the home team.
ROAD TEAM: Denver Nuggets (38-20, 18-10 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Facundo Campazzo
- SG: Will Barton
- SF: Michael Porter Jr.
- PF: Aaron Gordon
- C: Nikola Jokic
The Nuggets continue to roll, as they have stretched their win streak to four games after subduing the Portland Trail Blazers on the road last Thursday, 106-105. Nikola Jokic added to his MVP candidacy with 25 points, nine rebounds, and five assists, and he could do even better against the Warriors.
Golden State just doesn’t have a Jokic stopper right now. They have Draymond Green, but he could only do so much in containing the Serbian, whose IQ is just off the charts. That’s not to mention that the Warriors have so many Denver players to worry about on offense outside of Jokic, even though the Nuggets don’t have Jamal Murray right now.
In the two games against the Warriors this season, Jokic has averaged 25.0 points, 13.0 rebounds, and nine assists. Jokic and the Nuggets, who are 6-4 against the spread in their last 10 road games, should have little trouble winning the rebounding battle, as they have outrebounded the Warriors in those previous two meetings, including a 20-9 advantage on the offensive glass.
If Jimmy Alapag can hit threes in the face of Facundo Campazzo, imagine what Curry is about to do in this matchup, with the Nuggets missing Murray and Monte Morris. Then again, don’t expect Curry to go off for 50+ points anew. Instead, this will be more of a collaborative effort for the Warriors. I’m really tempted to side with Golden State just like the public, but it’s Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets who will shine more with their rebounding and efficient offense. Take the Nuggets to win and cover –3.
This is not going to be a shootout. The Nuggets will slow down the game to their advantage on the strength of their offensive rebounding. Take the Under 227.5.