Sunday, April 21, 2013

2013 Playoff Preview: Denver Nuggets (3) vs. Golden State Warriors (6)

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Forrest Gump would like this series a lot.  Why?  Because there will be lots and lots of RUNNING.  The Nuggets and Warriors enter the 2013 Playoffs as sexy teams to watch out for, and this series will entertain, as well as bring some fresh names to the "Hey He's Pretty Good At Basketball!" table.  In their four matchups this season (DEN leads 3-1) only once did a team score under 100 points, and even with the intensity of playoff basketball, offense may prevail when these stallions are freed from the stable.

The Nuggets, once picked by Ben Kenna to head to the NBA Finals, lost a big piece when Danilo Gallinari tore his ACL, but they have been one of the deepest teams in the NBA this season.  A look at their roster, with backups, looks like this:

PG   Ty Lawson, Andre Miller
SG   Evan Fournier, Corey Brewer
SF   Andre Iguodala, Wilson Chandler
PF   Kenneth Faried, JaVale McGee
C     Kosta Koufos, Timofey Mosgov

Lawson is their motor, their engine, the bro that gets the beefers moving, and he put up his finest season (17-3-7-1.5 steals), even if he's dealing with some nagging injuries.  Iguodala is shaping into his role as leader and "above-average-role-player" (AARP).  When you have a guy nicknamed "The Manimal" like Denver has with Faried, you know you have a beast on your hands.  Expect many double-doubles and wolf howls from one of the best kept secrets in the NBA.  They have guys capable of scoring if they get hot (Brewer and Chandler both have 30+ point games this season), and Gallo's injury has opened the door for rookie Evan Fournier to get some minutes, and showcase his nuggets.  He's been playing solid.  Denver is also blessed with some beef (Koufos, Mosgov), crafty veteranship (the ageless Miller), and the man, the myth, the legend that is JaVale McGee.  McGee in the Playoffs is GOLD, especially for me, who's covering this series.

Flipping the page to the Dubs, Golden State is back in the Playoffs after a  6-year hiatus.  It may be improbable that they have come this far, but a glance at their roster shows they have a lot of talent, and a budding SUPERSTAR on their hands:

PG    Stephen Curry, Jarrett Jack
SG    Klay Thompson, Richard Jefferson
SF    Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green
PF    David Lee, Carl Landry
C     Andrew Bogut, Andris Biedrins/Festus Ezeli

It's hard for me to rationally talk about Steph Curry, and the season he put up.  The offensive numbers are staggering (most 3's ever made in a season with 272, knocking down 45% from three, dropping 53 in MSG), plus having one of the most diverse offensive games out there.  It's not a one Show Pony Exhibit for the Warriors, though.  "The City" has a lot of pieces.  Klay Thompson could be the leagues second best shooter behind Curry, starting at the 2.  Jack has put up numbers worth of Sixth Man of The Year votes.  David Lee has been a 20-10 guy for many years, and can get buckets.  And if they can keep Bogut healthy, he will be the X-Factor of the series.  They may be a little thin on the bench, even with Jack and Landry, so they need Mr. Hair Gel (Biedrins) to log some good minutes, and stay away from the free throw line.  But for me, and 'cause it's my recap, it's all about Curry.  EnjoyEnjoyENJOY.

Buckle up and double-bag, folks.  Should be a lot of fun.  Plus, with these teams boasting the two-best sets of uniforms in the NBA, it will be beautiful to watch from Cold One City.


Game 1 - Sat  April 20  Golden State at Denver           3:30PM   5:30PM     ESPN
Game 2 - Tue  April 23  Golden State at Denver           8:30PM   10:30PM     TNT
Game 3 - Fri  April 26  Denver at Golden State           7:30PM   10:30PM     ESPN2
Game 4 - Sun  April 28  Denver at Golden State           6:30PM   9:30PM     TNT
Game 5 * Tue  April 30  Golden State at Denver             TBD      TBD       TBD
Game 6 * Thu  May 2     Denver at Golden State             TBD      TBD       TBD
Game 7 * Sat  May 4     Golden State at Denver             TBD      TBD       TNT      


Regular season series (Nuggets lead 3-1)
11-10-2012Denver 107, Golden State 101
11-23-2012Golden State 91, Denver 102
11-29-2012Denver 105, Golden State 106
1-13-2013Golden State 105, Denver 116


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