Stephen Curry's recent scoring exploits have put the Golden State Warriors firmly in the playoff reckoning in the West. The Denver Nuggets, meanwhile, are on a four-game winning streak, comfortably occupying fourth place in the Western Conference.
The Golden State Warriors return to the Chase Center after a 3-2 record in their five-game road trip, concluding with a stunning victory over the East's first seed, the Philadelphia 76ers, thanks to Curry's 49-point outing.
Meanwhile, the Denver Nuggets have beaten the Miami Heat, Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies and Portland Trail Blazers in their last four games. Though the Denver Nuggets are 8-2 in their last ten outings, their most recent loss came against the Golden State Warriors on April 12th.
Denver Nuggets vs Golden State Warriors prediction
Though it has not been an easy campaign for Steve Kerr's Golden State Warriors, they are 29-30 on the season. Their offense has been led by Stephen Curry, who is the league leader in points per game this season.
Nevertheless, the Golden State Warriors' offense has not been great (21st in Offensive Rating), but their defense has been more than adequate. The Golden State Warriors' defense is the seventh-best in the league this season, which augurs well for their postseason hopes.
For the Denver Nuggets, things are a bit different, though. They have fared well at both ends of the floor. They have the third-best offense n the league this season, scoring 117.8 points per 100 possessions. In defense, the Denver Nuggets are in the middle of the pack on Defensive Rating (15th-best in the league).
The Golden State Warriors and the Denver Nuggets will face for the third and final time this season after splitting their two previous meetings.
At Chase Center, it will be a huge battle between the Denver Nuggets and the Golden Warriors.
The Golden State Warriors could start as the slight favorites due to Curry's hot form. The matchup between Curry, a favorite for the MVP award, and Jokic, who is one of the frontrunners for the award, should be an enticing one.
On that note, let's have a look at a hypothetical combined starting five between the Denver Nuggets and the Golden State Warriors.
Denver Nuggets vs Golden State Warriors combined starting 5
Point Guard - Stephen Curry | Shooting Guard - Andrew Wiggins | Small Forward - Michael Porter | Power Forward - Draymond Green | Center - Nikola Jokic.
Stephen Curry has been on a crazy scoring tear in his last few games. The two-time MVP has taken the scoring lead in the season, thanks to his incredible scoring run.
The seven-time All-Star is averaging a career-high 31.1 points per game, while also registering 5.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists per outing. He is also shooting 48.6% from the field, a whopping 42.5% from the three-point line (12.1 attempts per game) and 92.2% from the free-throw mark.
In his last 12 games, Curry is averaging 38 points per game with 52/47/91 shooting splits. He had an 11-game streak of at least 30 points before scoring 18 against the Wizards in the Dubs' recent loss.
Andrew Wiggins has also been a solid player in offense for the Golden State Warriors. He is having one of the best seasons of his career. The wing player is averaging 18.1 points and 4.8 rebounds per game this season, with 47/38/70 shooting, splits.
For the Denver Nuggets, Michael Porter has been an excellent player on the wings, as his efficiency in offense has been a key part of the team's attacking system.
Porter, in only his second season in the league with the Denver Nuggets, is averaging 17.6 points and 7.7 rebounds per game with 54/43/77 shooting splits. He has proven to be a fabulous three-point shooter, as he has a 42.7% shooting efficiency from beyond the arc in 103 career games.
Meanwhile, for the Golden State Warriors, Draymond Green has been key at both ends of the floor, thanks to his versatility in defense and his playmaking prowess in offense.
Green is leading the Golden State Warriors in Defensive Rating, Defensive Win Shares, Defensive Box Plus/Minus and assists per game (8.5, a career high).
On the other hand, the Denver Nuggets has almost been single-handedly led by the imperious Nikola Jokic. He has driven his team's offense this campaign, posting 26.4 points and 11 rebounds per game.
Jokic is also averaging 8.7 assists per outing, which is presently the highest assists-per-game average for a center in NBA history, surpassing Wilt Chamberlain's record made in the 1967-68 season.