Denver Nuggets vs Golden State Warriors: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

What: Denver Nuggets vs Golden State Warriors

Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA

When: Tuesday, April 2nd at 10:30 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): TNT, NBC Sports Bay Area | 95.7 The Game, KKSE 950AM

Denver Nuggets (Away)

Head Coach: Michael Malone {All-Time 209-219 | SAC, DEN}

Projected Starting Five: (G) Jamal Murray – (G) Gary Harris – (F) Will Barton – (F) Paul Millsap – (C) Nikola Jokic

The Denver Nuggets sit a game back of the Golden State Warriors after an unfortunate setback against the Washington Wizards. With a record of 51-25, the Nuggets are second in the Western Conference but can draw level with a win over the Warriors. They would also like to draw level on the season series, where the Nuggets are currently 1-2.

The Nuggets have been doing their best to stay in range of the top of the Western Conference table. Over their last ten games, the Nuggets are 7-3 but lost in damaging fashion to the Washington Wizards. The Nuggets are nowhere near as successful on the road (20-18) as they are at home (31-7), so this match in Oakland will be a true test for the hopeful Nuggets.

Not much can be said of the Golden State Warriors that hasn’t already been said. They are the most dangerous offensive team in the NBA. While their defense has slipped as the year grows on, Denver can’t afford to lose focus against a team with the weapons that Golden State owns. The Nuggets themselves will need to be firing on all cylinders.

Golden State Warriors (Home)

Head Coach: Steve Kerr {All-Time 317-87 | GSW}

Projected Starting Five: (G) Stephen Curry – (G) Klay Thompson – (F) Kevin Durant – (F) Draymond Green – (C) DeMarcus Cousins

The Golden State Warriors, for the moment, wear the crown of the Western Conference. They seem to have overcome most of their mid-season worries and are now on track for another deep playoff run. With a record of 52-24, the Warriors own a single game lead over the Denver Nuggets who have the opportunity to overtake them on this night.

The capable Warriors overcame a controversial loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves with a dominant win over the Charlotte Hornets. They are 7-3 in their last ten games and now own the Pacific Division Title for the fifth time in as many years.

The Warriors will face off against a Nuggets team that is one of the most balanced across the league. Their 10th rated defense and the 5th rated offense will have to compete with the league-best offense that the Warriors own. Golden State will hope to have their sights steadied, as they look to outpace the young Nuggets.

What’s At Stake?

The Denver Nuggets and the Golden State Warriors have met a number of times over the course of their respective histories. In 175 games, the Nuggets lead the Warriors 95-80.

A win for the Nuggets would draw them level with the Golden State Warriors for first in the Western Conference.

A win for the Golden State Warriors would give them a valuable two-game lead over the chasing Denver Nuggets.

Questions to answer

Do the Nuggets need maturity?

Are the Warriors on their strongest run this season?

We are going to compare the Denver Nuggets and the Golden State Warriors in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

Jokic Was Ejected In a Tight Game

For the second time this season, Nikola Jokic was ejected from a match. While his passion is valued, head coach Mike Malone demanded more composure from the young star in what was a tie game.

 

 

His ejection speaks to the state of the Nuggets. While talented, they are still a young and emotional team. Emotion can be an excellent driver for a club, but it is the core system that will help them reach the top come playoff time. Jokic is too valuable to the team for such events. Without him on the court, the Nuggets lost 95-90. It was a tough result, but teams will look to exploit that emotion going forward. Whether or not the Nuggets can handle that, will be up to them.

The Warriors Have Captured the Pacific Division

The Warriors are always dangerous but it has been a difficult season for them. Ups and downs due to injury and attitude have seen Golden State fluctuate in the win column. In recent matches though, they look to be their old selves on the court. That is a dangerous prospect for any opposition.

It all starts with the Splash Brothers Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Their auxiliary scoring beside Durant to begin games is deadly, as evidenced by Thompson – who had 12 of his 24 points come in the first quarter against the Charlotte Hornets. When the backcourt shines, so do the Warriors.

Don’t forget the lunchpail workers though. DeMarcus Cousins and Quinn Cook have done their best to keep the offense going when the stars are on the bench. Cook is like a splash brother-lite, as he scored 13 of his 21 in the second quarter and made a career-high five three-pointers. Shooting slumps will always happen, but the current balance of the Warriors has been unseen this season. The Champions are still a force to be reckoned with.

Denver Nuggets Roster Notes

F Michael Porter – 21 Mar 2019 – Out (Back) – Porter Jr. has been participating in light contact 3-on-3 drills in practice, but is still a long shot to return this year according to Nick Kosmider of The Athletic.

Golden State Warriors Roster Notes

C Damian Jones – 8 Mar 2019 – Out (Torn Left Pectoral) – Head coach Steve Kerr said it’s doubtful that Jones returns during the playoffs, according to a report from Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

Head-to-Head: Nikola Jokic (DEN) vs DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)

In a match filled with deadly shooters, the key matchup lies between two passionate pivot players. Playmaking big man Nikola Jokic is the conductor of the Nuggets offense while his opposition DeMarcus Cousins is one of the NBA’s most dangerous post scorers. Their performances will hugely impact the match.

Nikola Jokic

Center | 7-0, 250lb (213cm, 113kg) | Mega Leks/Serbia | Exp. 3 Years

20.3 PPG | 7.4 APG | 10.9 RPG | 1.3 SPG | 0.7 BPG | 3.1 TOV | .509 FG% | .318 3P%

Jokic played a light 30 minutes in his last match, mostly due to an ejection against the Wizards. His efficiency was notable though, contributing 23 points and 14 rebounds on 11-15 shooting. Such efficiency will be needed against the Golden State Warriors, to pair with his fantastic passing ability. He will surely see the double-team and be stopped high in the paint, so his shooting and passing ability will be paramount to the Nuggets success.

DeMarcus Cousins

Center | 6-11, 270lb (211cm, 122kg) | Kentucky | Exp. 8 Years

15.6 PPG | 3.5 APG | 7.8 RPG | 1.3 SPG | 1.6 BPG | 2.3 TOV | .480 FG% | .250 3P%

DeMarcus Cousins saw himself ejected from the Warriors most recent match against the Hornets:

 

 

While the controversy stands, he is expected to play against the Nuggets. He will be needed, as one of the few places the Nuggets can be exploited is via Jokic’s one-on-one defence. Cousins’ ability off of both ends of the pick and roll will really open up the floor for the Warriors. It will be up to Cousins to convert from the range he chooses.

Denver Nuggets at Golden State Warriors Predictions and Odds

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