The Denver Nuggets hit the road looking for their third straight win when they take on the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night.
Last season, this game would have been must-see, and one of those you cancel all of your plans to watch. That is not the case in 2019-20, as Denver has continued to be a winner, while injuries and roster turnover have doomed the Warriors.
The Nuggets just keep getting it done, and though they were a bit short-handed Wednesday night, they handily took care of the Hornets to improve to 28-12 for the year, moving into a tie with the Utah Jazz in the No. 2 spot in the West.
Golden State has just nine wins, but that does not mean the Warriors are to be taken lightly. Gone are Kevin Durant, the Splash Brothers (injuries), Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston. Leading the team this year is former Nets All-Star guard D’Angelo Russell and veteran swingman Alec Burks.
Draymond Green has had his moments, but it is clear that his role is to be the ultimate glue guy on a team loaded with stars. Rookie Eric Paschall showed some flashes earlier in the year while Damion Lee is playing well.
The visiting Nuggets are six-point favorites Thursday night, with the over/under set at 215 points.
Tied with the red-hot Jazz for the No. 2 record in the conference, the Nuggets will be hoping to leave the Chase Center victorious. Nikola Jokic has been playing some fantastic ball of late, while rookie Michael Porter Jr. is looking more and more comfortable. He is a regular part of the rotation these days, with the various wing players around him constantly shuffling in and out of the lineup.
The team will likely hold out Gary Harris and Paul Millsap for one more game, while Jamal Murray is not definite to suit up after leaving Wednesday’s win with an ankle injury. Injuries are taking their toll on the team.
The key to certain victory here is for the Nuggets’ bench to put points on the board. Hit the three-pointer, drive the line, and, if you’re Mason Plumlee, grab rebounds and look to ignite the break.
Going For 10
It has not been a year to remember for the Warriors, but it is one that can offer up many lessons about attitude and maturity. With all of the young players Golden State has, all of the opportunities they are receiving to play can only help them.
When the Warriors get Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry back next year to go with Green and their top draft pick, they will be a threat. Because instead of having to play 30-plus minutes, the younger players can play 15 to 20 minutes off the bench and be fresher and more experienced. This is a one-year setback for a team looking to return to relevance next year after its five straight runs to the Finals.
Thursday night will be tough, but this same group beat Houston on Christmas, so anything can happen.
Nuggets Come Away With Win
The Warriors won’t be able to overcome Jokic Thursday night as they fall to 9-34. Take the Nuggets on the road.
Free Play: DEN -6
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