With the postseason approaching, the Golden State Warriors have a firm grip on the sixth seed, and haven’t let it go in a while.
The Houston Rockets may be catching up slowly, but the Warriors will likely finish in the sixth spot, which would be just fine, as they’d avoid the Oklahoma City Thunder or San Antonio Spurs.
Instead, they’ll likely play the Denver Nuggets, who aren’t going to give up the third seed that they just overtook from the Los Angeles Clippers. This is bad news for the Warriors, who have beaten the Nuggets only 1-of-3 times this season. They did play three close games, but it wasn’t enough.
How do these players match up?
1. Stephen Curry vs Ty Lawson:
These are two guys that deserved All-Star spots this year. Not only are they great young point guards, but they are both the leaders of their team. Lawson has been the leader of the Nuggets during their 15-game winning streak, and the Warriors are just starting to find their winning ways once again. Curry is a shooting point guard, and Lawson knows that his other teammates are also capable of scoring. In terms of points and basketball IQ, I’m taking Curry, barely.
Winner: Stephen Curry
2. Klay Thompson vs Andre Iguodala:
Two sharp-shooters, one difference. Klay Thompson is one of the best shooters in the NBA, while Iguodala can drive, dish and dunk. Iguodala is more explosive and has been around longer than Thompson. If I need a go-to guy down the stretch, I’m going to take Thompson, but Iguodala is a part of that high-maintenance Nuggets’ offense that has worked well this season. It’s hard to chose, but experience wins in this situation.
Winner: Andre Iguodala
3. Harrison Barnes vs Danilo Gallinari
The Nuggets just seem to get deeper and deeper as this list goes on. In trading Carmelo Anthony, the Nuggets continued to add to depth, and never worried about getting fatigued. They have Gallinari as the starting SF, and although he can get off-track, he almost always shows up in the clutch. Galo is one of the best finishers in the NBA, and he’s tough as well. Barnes is good, but he’s a rookie and cannot fully matchup with Gallinari, yet. His potential, however, is unbelievable.
Winner: Danilo Gallinari
4. David Lee vs Kenneth Faried:
If I want flash, I’ll take Faried, but if I want to win, I’m taking David Lee. The Nuggets made a great choice by drafting Faried to deepen their roster, but Lee has been around longer and knows how to play, as he is a 2x all-star. He’s a tough player, a hard worker, and a solid rebounder. With Bogut to back him up, he doesn’t need to exert so much energy on the defensive end. Faried is a great dunker, but I’m sure he wont try dunking on Andrew Bogut. That’s almost impossible.
Winner: David Lee
5. Andrew Bogut vs Kosta Koufus (Javale McGee):
Koufus is a solid player who will put up some big numbers from time to time, but he’s nothing more than that. The reason the Nuggets can live with him at center is because they have Javale McGee coming off the bench. He’s very hard to guard because he is lengthy and a great defender. His IQ may not be so high, but he has an incredible amount of talent. Bogut, on the other hand, is a great defender, and hasn’t been dunked on. It seems as if he gets a block every other possession. He is just getting back into his offensive groove, and is looking better by the day.
Winner: Andrew Bogut
It may seem like the Warriors could take the Nuggets easily, but when a team is just clicking in every aspect, they’re very tough to beat. The Warriors need to finish the season strong if they want to be compared to the Nuggets on a winning basis. Plus, the bench depth for the Nuggets is hard to match.