On Tuesday evening, both sides lost as the Nuggets fell narrowly to the Brooklyn Nets, while the Warriors succumbed to the Indiana Pacers despite dominating the first half. Each side will be looking to return to winning ways as challengers for a playoff berth in the West when they match up at the Ball Arena.
Fixture: Golden State Warriors vs. Denver Nuggets - NBA Season 2020-21.
Date & Time: Thursday, January 14th, 2021, 10:00 PM ET. (Friday, January 15th, 8:30 AM IST).
Venue: Ball Arena, Denver, CO.
Golden State Warriors Preview
Before a second-half collapse in which the Golden State Warriors scored only 38 points, coach Steve Kerr's side had begun to find their groove with Draymond Green's return. The Warriors secured six wins from eight games before Tuesday and climbed into the Western Conference's top eight sides.
While their offensive and defensive efficiency ratings are still lower than preferred, Golden State have improved beyond relying solely on Steph Curry's scoring. In the Warriors' narrow one-point win over the Toronto Raptors, seven players scored double-digit points, while Curry had a season-low 11.
Andrew Wiggins has started to emerge as the second elite scorer that the Warriors franchise need him to be and is currently averaging 17.9 points. With the return of Draymond Green, the Golden State Warriors defense has become more controlled. This has allowed them to become more fierce on the break, and the Warriors are now second overall for pace in the league as a team.
This year still remains relaxed for the Golden State Warriors franchise with lower expectations than normal without Klay Thompson available. However, they could cause a stir in the West when it comes to settling the playoff berths.
Key Player - Stephen Curry
It has been a pleasure to watch the Steph Curry of old return to our screens for the Golden State Warriors. The point guard is playing the game as he always has, putting up catch-and-shoot threes and getting his teammates hyped up for the competition.
Curry is averaging 27.8 points and 6.4 assists this year as he aims to reclaim the MVP trophy. In back-to-back games against the Portland Trail Blazers and Sacramento Kings, Curry put up 92 points, 62 of which came against a Blazers frontcourt who are as dangerous on offense as Curry is.
Also Read: What is Stephen Curry’s Net Worth?
The difference Draymond Green returning to the fold has had on his long-time teammate and friend is truly understated. Green brings additional noise and leadership on defense and provides the spacing he knows Curry needs to get off his patented jumper.
Now that the two are playing at the top of their game, the Golden State Warriors will feel they can have a very successful season.
Golden State Warriors Predicted Lineup
G Stephen Curry, G Kelly Oubre Jr., F Andrew Wiggins, F Draymond Green, C James Wiseman
Denver Nuggets Preview
Akin to their opponents, the Denver Nuggets had won four of their previous five matchups prior to Tuesday night's loss in Brooklyn. The Nuggets struggled to contain Kevin Durant, while their own stars didn't quite produce enough to continue their winning streak.
While their offensive efficiency is the second-best in the league, the Denver Nuggets' defense has held them back thus far. In the NBA's bottom-five, Denver have allowed five of their opponents more than 120 points - a theme coach Michael Malone will be looking to arrest if they are to finish in the West's top three again.
Key Player - Nikola Jokic
Nikola Jokic has turned his game up to another level and is now firmly in the mix for the MVP title. In his sixth year with the Denver Nuggets, Jokic is averaging career-highs in points (24.3), assists (10.5, also league-high), and rebounds (10.9).
While the Denver Nuggets' alternative offensive threats have taken their time to warm-up, Jokic has come out firing from the get-go. The Serbian center has secured 4 triple-doubles and is taking more shots for his team than he would normally.
The Denver Nuggets need not worry too much after their 5-6 start. If the playoffs of last season are anything to go by, Denver thrive when they're written off. And as long as Jokic is playing at MVP-caliber, they have every chance to reach another Conference Finals.
Denver Nuggets Predicted Lineup
G Jamal Murray, G Gary Harris, F Will Barton, F Paul Millsap, C Nikola Jokic
Golden State Warriors vs. Denver Nuggets prediction
The matchup between these two sides on Thursday will be intriguing. While the Denver Nuggets have greater depth and home-court advantage, the freedom with which the Golden State Warriors have been playing may help them take advantage of Denver's weak defense.
As with most of the Denver Nuggets' opponents, it could come down to how well the Warriors can contain Nikola Jokic. With rookie James Wiseman on him, there could be a serious mismatch if the ball is not kept out of the Serbian's hands.
Where to watch the Golden State Warriors vs. Denver Nuggets matchup?
For viewers in America, the game will be broadcast by TNT. Those outside the US will be able to stream the game live with an NBA League Pass.Published 14 Jan 2021, 00:40 IST