8PM EST, TNT
As crazy as it seems, with the Nuggets having their vaunted home court advantage and with Warriors playing without All-Star F David Lee, the Warriors can advance to the Western Conference Semifinals tonight with a win in Denver. Here are the keys for each team:
(Our very own Connor Cook will be taking over the @KJG_NBA Twitter handle to live Tweet the game. Tune in at 8 PM ET)
- Do something, anything, about Steph Curry
Throughout the series, everything that the Nuggets have done about Curry has been ineffective as he has a TS% of 66.0. They’ve put Ty Lawson on him, who is too short. They’ve put Andre Miller on him, who is too slow. They’ve left him open on threes, which is easily the worst thing they could do. Nothing has worked. At this point, they need to either switch Andre Iguodala onto him full-time and hope the guards can hold down the Warriors’ other wings, or perhaps focus on shutting down every other option besides Curry and make him beat them alone (although he might just drop 40 on them to win).
- Hope their home-court advantage is still real
As one writer indicated, Denver’s HCA doesn’t always translate to the playoffs, and it’s not clear why. One reason might be that teams have more time to get acclimated in Denver with consecutive games, and if this is true, then the Nuggets should regain an upper hand here as the teams have not been in Denver as long as they had before game 2, when the Nuggets got trounced at home.
- Give the ball to Steph Curry, free up Steph Curry for open shots, and when in doubt, get Steph Curry the ball.
I couldn’t be more serious about this. For casual NBA fans (those who didn’t follow his shooting brilliance throughout the season), Steph Curry is emerging as probably the league’s best shooter. He’s shooting better on three pointers during the playoffs than he did during the season, when he was ALREADY THE BEST SHOOTER. He’s hitting 30-foot jump shots off the dribble like it’s no big deal, because to him, it probably isn’t. He’s arguably playing better than any other player in this year’s playoffs, and the Warriors need to rely heavily upon him, injured eye or not, to carry them to the second round.