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The Warriors are back on the West Coast and continue operating with a great sense of urgency after a 3-2 road swing ended in disappointing fashion following a tight loss to the Wizards on Wednesday. They remain in ninth place, percentage points ahead of the Spurs and still in danger of being caught from behind for a spot in the Western Conference play-in tournament by the Pelicans or Kings.

On the other hand, safety that lies with securing the sixth spot is just 3.5 games away and certainly attainable if it can get hot, so Golden State is chasing a surge. The Nuggets are in the No. 4 spot and currently in line to face the Lakers, who got Anthony Davis’ services back on Thursday night. Denver holds the edge for homecourt at the moment, but that could change with LeBron James set to join Davis back in the lineup as well.

Nuggets at Warriors picks and predictions will hinge on what bettors perceive being the more difficult defensive challenge for both teams in terms of containing the other’s MVP contender. Stephen Curry is coming off a rare off night but typically cooks at home, while the smallish Dubs will have their hands full with 7-footer Nikola Jokic’s brilliant play-making. It figures to be a fun one in San Francisco.

  • Golden State Warriors vs. Denver Nuggets
  • Time/Venue: 10:10 p.m. ET, Chase Center
  • TV: ESPN

Curry Looks To Bounce Back From Brutal Outing

Curry opened the week with an amazing 49-point effort against the 76ers but saw his run of 11 consecutive games scoring at least 30 points end in Wednesday’s 118-114 loss to the Wizards. Curry had connected on 46 3-pointers over his previous five games, piling up a gaudy 44.8 scoring average before finishing with just 18 points on 7-for-25 shooting, including a 2-for-14 effort from beyond the arc in D.C. He’d been averaging 40 points over his last 11 to take over the NBA season scoring lead from Wizards guard Bradley Beal.

Russell Westbrook, Raul Neto and a defense that kept him suffocated for most of the night threw off his rhythm, but being the focus of an opposing game plan is nothing new for the two-time MVP. Curry simply looked like he didn’t have his legs, and head coach Steve Kerr admitted post-game that the road trip, which featured five games in eight days in five different cities had exhausted his team. The Warriors did have their chances and led deep into the fourth quarter despite Curry’s rough shooting but did indeed ran out of gas.

It now remains to be seen whether they can recharge quickly enough to successfully navigate this challenge. Teams returning home from long road trips are typically worth fading, but the fact that fans are being let back into arenas has juiced up home teams of late and Golden State has won four of five at home, last delivering there against these same Nuggets back on April 12 in a game it won 116-107 behind an amazing 53-point night from Curry.

The Warriors, opening a three-game homestand that will also feature games against the Kings and Mavericks, shot 18-for-44 from 3-point range the last time they were at Chase Center facing Denver. The Dubs also drained 20 of 22 free-throws and erased a five-point halftime deficit behind a 43-22 third-quarter effort. Jokic was his usual productive self and finished with 27 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists but was powerful to stop the host’s dominant perimeter display.

Kelly Oubre, Jr. missed that win over Denver with a sore wrist but returned this week and looked sharp coming off the bench against the Wizards, finishing with team-highs of 24 points and nine rebounds. Rookie center James Wiseman had already been lost for the season, so the Warriors already have experience in defending Jokic with Draymond Green, Kevon Looney and plenty of timely double-teaming.

Streaking Nuggets Looking For Fifth Consecutive Win

Denver lost point guard Jamal Murray to a torn ACL the last time they were in the Chase Center and were a devastated group when leaving the building. Murray had successful surgery on Wednesday and the Nuggets have rallied with four consecutive victories, so if nothing else, they’re returning in better spirits.

Head coach Michael Malone rallied his frustrated group to blowouts of the Heat and Rockets before securing tight wins in each of this week’s games. The Nuggets used a 14-2 surge to close regulation and send the Grizzlies game to OT on Monday, ultimately prevailing in double-overtime. On Wednesday, Jokic was his usual clutch self down the stretch in Portland and his team survived when Blazers’ wing Norman Powell missed what would have been a game-winning runner at the buzzer, preserving a 106-105 win.

Without Murray and top backup point guard Monte Morris, Malone has relied more on Will Barton as a ball handler alongside Jokic and given more minutes to backup guards P.J. Dozier and Facundo Campazzo. Austin Rivers was also signed to provide backcourt relief, but since Jokic is a point center anyway, it’s possible that Murray’s unfortunate demise can indeed be overcome.

Nuggets at Warriors picks and predictions will hinge on how much better the visitors can defend the perimeter than they managed to in that first contest 10 days ago. Denver held serve at home 114-104 in the first meeting between these teams on Jan. 14 despite Curry shooting 5-for-11 from 3-point range because the rest of the team went a combined 6-for-18.

Murray was a part of that one, but long forward Michael Porter, Jr. was sidelined and athletic forward Aaron Gordon was still in Orlando. With Rivers on board too, Denver does have the resources to keep Golden State from going nuts from beyond the arc and just succeeded in holding the Damian Lillard-led Trail Blazers to 12-for-36 shooting in their own building. Denver is 18-10 on the road, one of the top marks in the NBA, and it will look to add to that success by winning the season series against the Warriors for the first time since 2012-13. The Nuggets won’t be back on the road until May 1, opening a four-game homestand where they’ll be favored in every game on Saturday night against the lowly Rockets.

Sports Betting Line Analysis

Early lines have not officially been released for this game, but indications are that the Nuggets will be favored by three points with the total set at 228. With Murray on board entering that game, Denver closed as a 5-point favorite while the total wrapped at 227.5. The Nuggets were also a 4.5-point ‘chalk’ at home on Jan. 14, earning that cover.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see this number wind up higher given the presence of Curry, who would be expected to have a bounce-back game. The total in Golden State’s last game closed just over 240 and nearly got there despite Curry’s struggles and poor shooting nights from Washington stars Westbrook and Beal.

Injuries/Rotational Adjustments to Watch

The Warriors have lost Wiseman for the season and have been without reserve forwards Eric Paschall (hip flexor strain) and Juan Toscano-Anderson (concussion) for the past few games. Toscano-Anderson clearing protocol would provide welcome insurance. Another key variable will be the loss of guard Damion Lee, a member of Steve Kerr’s rotation. He left the Wizards’ loss due to a toe issue but has since been ruled out for the next 10-14 days due to NBA health and safety protocols.

The Nuggets will continue to toil without Morris, who remains out with a hamstring strain, so expect to see Rivers and two-way player Shaquille Harrison to play minutes behind Dozier and Campazzo. Denver’s frontcourt remains fully healthy and deep.

Nuggets At Warriors Handicapping Notes And Pick

Although the Nuggets have the better record and bigger lineup, a small-ball approach has proven effective in helping Golden State get the better of Jokic before. So long as Green avoids foul trouble, rolling with Curry to get back in the flow at home is irresistible, especially when catching points.



About the Author
Tony Mejia

Tony Mejia

Tony Mejia has been a national writer for nearly two decades and has covered NBA and college basketball as a columnist, analyst, handicapper, and bracketologist for CBS Sports, Pro Basketball News, and numerous other sites.

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