Nuggets will give Warriors a run for their money

Published: Friday, Apr. 19, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3C
Last Modified: Thursday, Jun. 6, 2013 - 11:16 pm

OAKLAND – The Warriors' goal usually is to get out in transition. But in the first round of the playoffs, which begin Saturday, they'll face a team better at it than themselves.

Still, Golden State apparently has no plans to slow down the game against Denver, the league's highest-scoring team. You know what that likely means.

"It's going to be up-tempo," Warriors point guard Stephen Curry said. "We want to do what we do best, knowing that's a strength of theirs as well."

It's already being billed as the most entertaining series of the first round. The Nuggets and Warriors are peas in a pod – explosive offenses, sometimes defenses and an energetic home court. Denver and Golden State rank second and fourth, respectively, in possessions per 48 minutes.

In some ways, it's an ideal matchup for the Warriors. Golden State figured to be at a disadvantage in the playoffs, in which teams tend to slow down the game and emphasize half-court prowess. The Warriors have struggled against physical teams that thrive in the half court.

Instead, they get a team that plays their style.

"I feel like the matchup's a pretty good matchup," Golden State center Andrew Bogut said. "They like to run. We like to run."

But Denver is the league's best at the up-tempo game. The Nuggets averaged 106.1 points and tied for fourth in the league at 47.8 percent shooting.

Part of what makes the Nuggets so tough to stop is that they come at teams from so many directions. Denver had six players average in double figures, led by point guard Ty Lawson's 16.7 points. Two reserves, center JaVale McGee and guard Andre Miller, averaged more than nine points.

The Nuggets led the league in fast-break points and points in the paint. The Warriors don't want to slow down the game, just slow down Denver. It's something they weren't able to do in the season series.

"The ways they hurt us is the way they win a lot of their games," Golden State forward David Lee said. "They really want to get out and run. They want to get easy baskets. The more we can prevent that, the bigger chance we have. … We have to get back and take away their layups and dunks."

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Marcus Thompson II



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