The Golden State Warriors looked for a while as if they were going to be headed for another dismal season. With Klay Thompson gone for the year, Steph Curry having to come back from an injury that sidelined him for almost the entire 2019 - 2010 campaign, and a number of newcomers, including rookie center James Wiseman, this had all the makings of one of those open "rebuilding" seasons.
That hasn't been the case. Since Draymond Green's eturn to the lineup, this team has not only gotten a lot more competitive, but climbed over the .500 mark. Now at 6-5 (5-6 ATS), the Warriors try to become "road warriors" as they take it into the Rocky Mountains for a meeting with the Denver Nuggets, scheduled for 10:05 p.m. Eastern time in the second half of the TNT doubleheader.
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The loss of Thompson for what amounts to a second straight season not only takes away one of the best three-point shooters in the game, but also one of the better backcourt defenders. So in a way, head coach Steve Kerr had to restructure the scheme. Curry was a little rusty coming back, but he eventually found a rhythm, evidenced by his 62-point outburst against Portland on January 3rd.
Denver has been a disappointment coming out of the gate, with a 5 - 6 record, and they have not been a winner for they're NBA betting backers (3-8 ATS). They seem to have the size and the offensive firepower, but defensively they have been found wanting. Perhaps unfortunately for them, this is an area in which Golden sState has made a bit of a comeback.
In the NBA betting odds that have been posted on this game from our friends at BetAnySports, the Nuggets are the favorites at home:
Denver Nuggets - 4.5
Golden State Warriors + 4.5
Over 225 points -110
Under 225 points - 110
Over the first six games of the season, the Warriors were somewhat sieve-like, giving up just under 124 points per game. But they have gotten their act together on the stop end lately, yielding just 105 points per game over the last five contests. They are currently ranked 10th in the NBA in Defensive Rating, and it really is no mystery how much of this has happened.
Draymond Green has long had the reputation as one of the NBA's best defensive players. He has, in fact, been named do the All-Defensive team on four occasions, and has taken home the league's Defensive Player of the Year award. He missed the first several games with an injury, but now he's back, and he has changed things.
Newcomer Andrew Wiggins, who developed a bad reputation with Minnesota, is trying to resurrect his career. And he has heaped praise upon Green as someone who has helped everybody raise his defensive level. And Wiggins is becoming a very reliable defender; he had five blocked shots the other night against the Indiana Pacers.
Unfortunately, that was in a losing cause, as Golden State scored only 95 points against the Pacers. Teams are starting to really clamped down Curry, playing a variety of different defenses. since we have his last four games, he said 20 points or less. And Golden State will probably need much more of an offensive contribution from him in order to challenge for a playoff spot.
Maybe that will indeed come from Wiggins; over his last eight games, who has hit 43% from three-point range. The Warriors have not been slowing things down; rather, they are second in the league in the "Pace" category. So definitely give them credit for making shots difficult on the part of the opponent.
It will be a challenge for them against Denver, though. The Nuggets are playing a rather free-wheeling brand of basketball, and even scoring a lot of points doesn't guarantee them anything. An example what's a recent game against the Brooklyn Nets, where they scored 70 points in the first half yet still lost the game going away. Why? Well, because they have a difficult time defending. Brooklyn's starting lineup shot 65% from the field. And as a team, the Nuggets have surrendered 48.3% shooting.
This would seem to wind up as a game to go over the total. But the Warriors may find it a little less problematic to defend Nikola Jokic because they don't have to worry about Michael Porter, who has fast been emerging as a threat, but is currently on the shelf because of the Coronavirus. The Warriors have played four straight games under the total, and interestingly enough, Denver is 26th in Pace, so if Green and his two mates can be disruptive enough in the half-court, we could actually see them have to grind it out. UNDER
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