Golden State Warriors @ Denver Nuggets [Game 1 Preview]

Golden State Warriors @ Denver Nuggets [Game 1 Preview]

G.S. Warriors (6) @ Denver Nuggets (3)

AccuScore Preview

The Denver Nuggets are solid 60.9% favorites vs the Warriors in game one. The average score after 10,000 simulations is 109-106. The hot trend of the day is to take the points and Warriors on the spread. You’d get 8.5 points, and are expected to cover that 62% of the time. It’s probably safe to take the over on this game too; there’s a 59.5% chance the total goes over 210.5.

Projected Stats (via AccuScore)

Stephen Curry: 27 pts (4 three-pointers, 45% FG), 10 asts, 5 rebs

Klay Thompson: 18 pts (3 three-pointers, 41% FG), 4 rebs, 2 asts

Ty Lawson: 17 pts (50% FG), 7 asts, 3 rebs, 2 stls

Andre Iguodala: 16 pts (47% FG), 7 rebs, 6 asts

 

Appetizer

The Nuggets won the season series 3-1. In the one Warriors victory (which was by 1 pt), David Lee dominated with 31 pts and 9 rebs. Denver’s Kenneth Faried sat out the final two games of the regular season due to an ankle injury. He was not included in AccuScore’s simulations, a good indication that he will either not play or have very, very, very little impact. We’ll keep an eye out for his status as it will have a huge impact on both the energy and outcome of the game.

Main Course

This series might end up being the most exciting to watch in the entire first round. I think the Nuggets won’t win in fewer than 6 games, and most of the games will stay fairly competitive. Both teams get out in the transition and can score big from beyond the arc, ensuring that neither team will ever really be out of any game. The Nuggets lost only three games at home all season, so don’t expect to steal more than one (if even that) in Denver.

This excerpt from a Mercury News blog says it all -

When Denver plays at home, it sees a meaningful surge in the “hustle” categories. Points off turnovers jump from 18.1 to 21.6. Fast break points climb from 18.3 to 22.0. Meanwhile, opponents’ points off turnovers drop from 18.8 when the Nuggets are on the road to 15.8 when they’re at home. Opponents’ fast break points similarly fall from 13.4 to 10.9. In short, when the Nuggets are at home, they’re scoring more off opponents’ mistakes and pushing the tempo for more easy transition baskets. Opponents, on the other hand, are making more mistakes and playing slower than normal. To escape the first round, the Warriors will need to buck these trends.

We know Curry can score, but more important this series will be how well he can distribute the ball and spread the offense. He’ll have to read the defense and adjust to what Denver throws at him – if Lawson is on him, do the dance and score at will. If the likes of Andre Iguodala or Corey Brewer are on him, he needs to take them off the dribble and get others involved.

The Nuggets are #1 in the league at both shot attempts and points in the paint. The Warriors  must a) get back on D in transition and b) get some magic healthy potion for Andrew Bogut.

Warriors are going to get a whole bunch of shot attempts from beyond the arc. Even more than you are used to. Denver is second to last in the league at defending the three-point shot, while the Warriors were one of the best-shooting teams from the three-point line.

With Gallo out, it’ll be important for Wilson Chandler to make an impact, especially on the offensive end. He’s an upgrade defensively and in terms of just pure hustle/athleticism, but Gallo is much more dependable on offense. Chandler can hit the 3 and take his defenders off the dribble; he has all the ability, but needs to consciously make a decision to shoot often. He’s projected to get 16 pts and 6 rebs in game 1.

Dessert

G. State: 47% two-point defense, +2.2 rebounding, -1.5 TO’S, 8.0 treys, #4 full season pace

Denver: 47% two-point defense, +3.4 rebounding, +0.6 TO’S, 6.4 treys, #2 full season pace
OFFENSE/DEFENSE RANKINGS (points per 100 possession)

Nuggets: offense 107.6 (5th best in NBA), defense 102.0 (11th in NBA)
Warriors: offense 104.2 (10th in NBA), defense 102.6 (13th in NBA)

Stats via Stat Intelligence

Game Prediction

There’s a very good chance this series goes 7 games, with Denver coming out on top only because they’re practically immortal at home. Denver will take game one, but look for Curry to have a heck of a series. Not because I think he will, but because his team needs him to.
Nuggets 110 Warriors 103 
Game 1 – Sat April 20, Golden State at Denver, 5:30PM, ESPN
Game 2 – Tue April 23, Golden State at Denver, 10:30PM, TNT
Game 3 – Fri April 26, Denver at Golden State, 10:30PM, ESPN2
Game 4 – Sun April 28, Denver at Golden State, 9:30PM, TNT
Game 5 * Tue April 30, Golden State at Denver, TBD, TBD
Game 6 * Thu May 2, Denver at Golden State, TBD, TBD
Game 7 * Sat May 4, Golden State at Denver, TBD, TNT