Warriors Start a “New Season” In Denver: Game 1 Preview


November 10, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors shooting guard Stephen Curry (30) shoots the ball against Denver Nuggets small forward Kenneth Faried (35, left) during the second overtime at ORACLE Arena. The Nuggets defeated the Warriors 107-101 in double overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Ah, the time has finally arrived. I’ve got to tell you that as a Warrior follower, I’ve been nervous ever since they clinched.

From down the road, you could easily see this Golden State – Denver round 1 matchup. It’s going to be a great series, but the Warriors got the raw end of the deal, playing a team that is 38-3 on the road. Luckily, they’ll have the chance to acclimate to the pressure in Game 2, something that other teams could never do. If they can take that one, they can take the series.

Against the Warriors, Ty Lawson is averaging 16 points per game. It’s a little bit below his regular numbers, but in these past 20 games, as he’s said, he’s been waiting for the playoffs to arrive, and now that they’re here, he says that he’s going to lead his team. Of the four lower seeds to play, I think the Warriors are the toughest. However, Andre Iguodala, who has hurt the Warriors in the past, has averaged 20 points per game against Golden State, 8 above his season average. The Nuggets are a very fast-paced, fastbreak type of team, who like to push the ball. This is favorable to the Warriors as well, however.

Off the made basket, if the Warriors are able to push the tempo even more, they’ll find their shooters open on the wing. Beware, however, almost none of the Warrior starters, except Andrew Bogut, have ever scored in the postseason before. It’s going to be very interesting to hopefully see these guys get their “playoff career-highs” today.

For the Warriors, Stephen Curry is averaging 18.5 PPG. Fortunately for him, all of the games against Denver were before his incredible hot streak when he went absolutely berserk. Coincidentally, that was right after the All-Star Game. David Lee, his big man in the post, is averaging 23.3 PPG, way above his average. With no true power forward for Denver and the low basketball IQ of Javale McGee, Lee will succeed in the post. Fortunately for him, he can deliver some of his fancy passes to Bogut, who will also need to step it up in today’s game.

Klay Thompson, the Warriors’ last deadly scorer, struggles to score on the road, unless it’s a critical time. Fortunately for the Warriors, every time in the playoffs is critical. This is why Thompson is going to have a great series. Against Denver, he averages 18.3 PPG, which is 2 points above his average.

These two teams are equally matched, but the Nuggets have claimed in interviews that they’re going to take away Curry’s shooting. The only problem with that, however, is that they didn’t account for the fact that they’re defense won’t be set after they’ve just attempted a fast-break. Curry comes down, hits a 3-pointer, and suddenly, he’s the Human Torch again.

The key player of the game, mainly, is Thompson. He needs to be just as dangerous as Stephen Curry, so that the Warriors can balance their offense, and not focus on just one simple play. It’s likely that Denver is going to find a way to take away that ‘elevator play’, so the Warriors need to rely on Thompson to post up sometimes. His defense against Iguodala or Lawson could be the ‘X’ Factor.

Game Predictions:

Matchup to Watch: Stephen Curry vs Ty Lawson

Players to Watch: Klay Thompson, Andrew Bogut, Stephen Curry, Ty Lawson

Leading Scorer: Stephen Curry

Winner: Nuggets Dominate the Fourth

Probable Lineups:

1. Stephen Curry vs Ty Lawson

2. Klay Thompson vs Andre Iguodala

3. Harrison Barnes vs Evan Fournier

4. David Lee vs Wilson Chandler

5. Andrew Bogut vs Kosta Koufus