2022 NBA Playoffs Western Conference: #3 Golden State Warriors vs #6 Denver Nuggets
Tale of the Tape:
|111.0 (15th)||Points Per Game||112.7 (10th)|
|105.5 (3rd)||Points Allowed Per Game||110.4 (14th)|
|31-10 at home||Home/Away Record||25-16 on the road|
|14th||Pace of Play||20th|
|T-14th||Off Efficiency Rating||T-6th|
|1st||Def Efficiency Rating||T-18th|
Can’t Miss Offer From Caesars
Golden State leaders:
- Stephen Curry, PG: 25.5 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 6.3 APG, 1.3 SPG, 38% 3PT
- Klay Thompson, SG: 20.4 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 2.8 APG, 38.5% 3PM
- Draymond Green, PF: 7.5 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 7.0 APG, 1.3 SPG, 1.1 BPG
- Nikola Jokic, C: 27.1 PPG, 13.8 RPG, 7.9 APG, 1.5 SPG, 58.3% FG
- Aaron Gordon, PF: 15.0 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 2.5 APG, 52% FG
- Will Barton, SF: 14.7 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 3.9 APG, 36.5% 3PT
- Stephen Curry, Golden State: Foot (Questionable)
- Jamaal Murray, Denver: Knee (Doubtful)
- Michael Porter Jr, Denver: Back (Out)
Warriors win the series 4-2 (*expecting Curry to miss one game, maybe two)
- Obviously, a prediction for this series hinges on the health of Golden State star Stephen Curry. He had been expected to make a return for the beginning of the playoffs, but head coach Steve Kerr recently suggested that Curry could miss the first game of the series and perhaps more. That would make the playing field a little more even since the Nuggets are also without their star point guard, Jamaal Murray. Murray has missed all season after ACL surgery last year, and while he’s back at practice and there was some hope he would be ready for the playoffs, he doesn’t seem likely to test his knee during this series.
- Both teams have handled their respective injuries relatively well this year, and Jordan Poole has really stepped into a major scoring role for the Warriors without Curry. On the season, Poole is averaging 18.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game, while shooting 36.4% from three. His emergence has helped the Warriors to remain near the top of the standings.
- The presence of Poole also allows Golden State to play a faster pace of basketball that can be a challenge for Denver, which is how Golden State won the last game of their regular-season series (which Denver did win 3-1).
- However, a big part of Golden State’s success comes down to their top-ranked defense. That unit will definitely be challenged by potential league MVP Nikola Jokic. The Denver big man does everything and will be a real match-up nightmare for a Warriors team that is relatively small and has been beaten inside by big men throughout the season. If Curry were to miss more than one game, Jokic is definitely the kind of talent that could take this Nuggets team to a victory.
- The Nuggets also have some strong three-point shooters in Monte Morris (39.5%) and Will Barton (36.5%), who have gotten hot when teams collapse on Jokic too much. However, the Nuggets are only 14th in the league in threes made per game, so they’re not lighting it up from beyond the arc, like their opponents do.
- At the end of the day, I think Curry will miss a game, maybe two, and I don’t trust the Nuggets’ defense to continuously get stops with Curry in the lineup. The emergence of Poole has made Golden State even harder to guard on offense and more of a matchup problem for a Denver team that can’t play as small and fast as Golden State will. I think this will be a competitive series, but I just see Golden State pulling it out.