The Warriors have scored 4 straight victories, albeit against some of the worst teams in the league. The team is tops in the league in shooting (48.6%), 2nd in scoring (over 117 PPG) and 3rd in 3-point shooting (38.5%). Still, this doesn’t feel like the other Warriors teams from the last 5-6 years. G Klay Thompson has been incredibly inconsistent, and Draymond Green seems to have lost some of his effectiveness. Even with the advantage of having two of the league’s top scorers in Stephon Curry (29.4 PPG) and Kevin Durant (28.2 PPG), something is just not right. There have been internal struggles and the prospects of Durant and Thompson going into free agency seem to have this team a little off kilter. The fact they can still be a top team with issues is a clear indication of how good this team could be.
The Denver Nuggets continue to surprise with the league’s best record. It’s no fluke. Big man Nikola Jokic is a legitimate force. He leads the team in all relevant categories, including scoring (19.7 PPG), rebounding (10.2 RPG), assists (7.5 APG) and even steals (1.4 SPG). He also gets good support from a surprising efficient group of role players. One of those good role players, G Gary Harris, recently returned from injury but has now missed the last 3 games with a hamstring issue. Still, the Nuggets haven’t missed a beat. Having the 4th best defense in the league, giving up just over 105 PPG certainly helps. The Nuggets have won 12 straight at home.
Prediction: While the Warriors love to chuck it from three, the Nuggets have a really good perimeter defense. That could cause problems for the Warriors. These two teams last played at the beginning of the season with the Nuggets winning a low-scoring affair 100-98. Look for the Nuggets to maybe slow things down just a little. Play under 228 (score – Denver 113-109)