Denver Nuggets at Golden State Warriors
Time: 10:35 PM ET
Spread: GSW -10
Betting odds c/o Bovada
The Warriors are 66-15, but as Draymond Green pointed out earlier, the band will likely be making its final tour this postseason. There is little chance the Warriors can return Green as well as all other key players, with the market dictating that Golden State will be priced out of its own rich roster. Even so, the key feature of the Warriors will be intact for some time to come.
The Warriors will host the visiting Denver Nuggets at Oracle Arena and NBA live lines show Golden State as 10-point favorites at oddsmakers Bovada. The total for the game is set at 216, and for an explanation of how to bet these odds, see our NBA odds explained.
Warriors guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson have been nothing short of incredible: The duo averages 44.5 points per game between them, while knocking down 6.5 threes per game between them. Curry posts a PER of 28.0, a testament to his ankle breaking, guard destroying play this season. Thompson, too, has proven quite unstoppable, posting a 20.7 PER of his own while continually proving himself to be a far better defender than most realize (see: 1.92 steals/blocks per game, in addition to his solid on-ball defense).
Green’s stats are a little more humble, but his impact equally as profound. His 11.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game hardly attest to the intangibles he brings, and the market may dictate that he’s in for a max-contract this offseason. The Warriors are not short on scoring options despite its third leading scorer averaging less than 12 per.
Marreese Speights puts up 10.3 points per game in just 15.8 minutes off the bench, while the high flying swingman Harrison Barnes has plateaued, but is still having a very solid season. Barnes averages 10.3 points per game in 28 minutes a night, but his defensive impact is huge, much like Green’s. The Warriors receive the notoriety for its offense, but its ‘D’ is just as suffocating. The Warriors rank 1st in defensive rating (101.1) while also ranking 2nd in offensive rating (111.4). The result is that the fast paced Warriors (98.2 pace rating, highest in NBA) are hard to contend with for even the best teams in the West.
That’s not to say the Warriors will roll to a sweep in round 1. Though Kevin Durant is out for the season, the OKC Thunder are a tough team with just NBA leading scorer Russell Westbrook. Should the New Orleans Pelicans claim the 8th seed instead of OKC, Anthony Davis will be his typical monster self. The West just has no handouts, and the Warriors are not licking their respective chops nor looking past the tough first round matchup with whichever opponent it ends up being.
Denver has hit the doldrums. The team has bottomed out at 30-51 this season and changes are bound to occur over the offseason. As to which players Denver chooses to retain for the purposes of a rebuild, it’s entirely unclear. Kenneth Faried is the Nugget with the highest trade value, though there may be a fire sale. Ty Lawson is bound to attract suitors, and he was nearly dealt in Feb. at the trade deadline, but Boston opted to pass on Lawson in favor of the younger Isaiah Thomas. Lawson may have hit his ceiling as a player but he still offers a lot of scoring punch to a team in need of a No. 2 or No. 3 option.
The problem in Denver has been that Lawson has had to be a No. 1 option while also creating most of the offense. There was a time Denver was a dynamic unit, dangerous despite lacking a superstar, but now the Nuggets are more of a wasteland and have dropped seven of its past 10 games. On the road, the Nuggets are just 11-29 and with nothing to play for the Warriors may come out and use this as a tune-up for the playoffs while also resting the starters. Problematic for the Nuggets is that the Warriors’ reserves are a far more capable and coherent unit than the Nuggets starters.