NBA Playoffs 2013
(3) Denver Nuggets VS Golden State Warriors (6)
Regular season record: 57-25 Denver Nuggets : 47-35 Golden State Warriors
Regular season series: Denver Nuggets 3-1 Golden State Warriors
- Denver scores the highest percentage of its points off the fastbreak in the NBA (19%). Golden State ranks eleventh at 14.6 percent.
- The Warriors score 23.8 percent of their points from beyond the arc (7th in the NBA). The Nuggets allow the NBA’s second-most three-point attempts (22.8).
- Denver has the third-highest percentage of points off turnovers (18.7%). Golden State has the seventh-largest turnover margin (15 per game).
- The Nuggets rank second in field goal attempts (84.2 per game). The Warriors rank eighth (82.9).
- Both teams rank in the top five in pace. Denver: 97.76 : Golden State 96.81
Denver can win if…
The Nuggets play at a breakneck pace and love to get out and run. If Denver can force turnovers and execute in the open court, the team has the ability outscore anyone in the league. The biggest keys for George Karl’s team are defending the three-point line and being able to execute in the half-court. While this figures to be a more up-and-down series, the playoffs are typically about being able to execute in the half court. This becomes magnified in the waning stages of close games. Denver has struggled in this area and the loss of Danilo Gallinari is a big blow. But if those who are healthy are able to step-up in Gallinari’s absence, the West’s three-seed has a good chance of avoiding an upset.
Golden State can win if…
To pull off the upset, the Warriors cannot go cold from long-range, especially in Denver. This young team needs to be able to handle playing at the Pepsi Center, one of the toughest places to play in the NBA. Golden State must protect the basketball and limit turnovers. Allowing Denver to operate in transition is a recipe for disaster. Defensively, the Warriors will need to clamp down. Communication will be key in rotating over to cut off Ty Lawson drives and getting out to contest ensuing three-point attempts. David Lee and Andrew Bogut will have to be extra-aggressive on the boards, working to keep Kenneth Faried, JaVale McGee and Kosta Koufos off the glass.
This will certainly be an entertaining, fast-pace, high scoring series. What is troubling for Golden State is that David Lee struggles when opponents play him physically and neither of the Warriors big men can keep up with Denver’s in transition. Furthermore, Golden State’s young defenders have a tendency to become discombobulated when attempting to defend the fastbreak. If the Nuggets simply play their game, they should be in good shape in the opening round.
Winner: Denver Nuggets 4-2 Golden State Warriors