- The Golden State Warriors visit Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night
- Denver is currently 5-point favorites
- Get our odds, analysis, and pick below for this contest
It will be a Western Conference showdown on Thursday, January 14th, when the Golden State Warriors face the Denver Nuggets, tip-off 10pm ET. Both teams have been streaky early on in the season, with Golden State at 6-5 and Denver at 5-6.
There are no notable absences for this one, with Eric Paschall set to return for the Warriors. Nevertheless, the Nuggets still enter as 5-point favorites against Steve Kerr’s team. In 2019/20, these two split their season series with one victory each.
Warriors vs Nuggets Odds
|Golden State Warriors||+5 (-110)||+172||O 230 (-110)|
|Denver Nuggets||-5 (-110)||-205||U 230 (-110)|
Odds taken Jan 13 at Fanduel
Nuggets Struggling Defensively
Offensively, Denver has been electric this year, led by Nikola Jokic, who is looking like an early candidate for MVP. The Serbian big man leads the team in scoring, rebounds, and assists, averaging a triple-double through 11 contests. Their entire unit has been playing respectable, with a total of seven players registering double digits in scoring.
However, even Jamal Murray isn’t looking like the same dominant figure compared to last season’s playoff run in Orlando. Although the Canadian is averaging just under 20 points, there have been nights where he’s simply just off. The offense is relying too heavily on Jokic and if it continues to be this way, Denver won’t be getting nearly as far in 2020/21.
Mike Malone’s squad are second in the NBA in offensive rating, but a lackluster 25th in defensive rating. Tuesday night’s loss to the Brooklyn Nets was a prime example of how disappointing the Nuggets have been in regards to containing their opponents. They were up by 16 points at the half, then proceeded to be outscored 68-46 in the remaining two quarters. Denver was also dominated inside, with the Nets scoring 20 more points in the paint than the visitors. They ended up losing by six points despite being ahead by as many as 18 in the first half.
What more is there to say at this point.
7 STL (career-high)#MileHighBasketball pic.twitter.com/1u3whubGnV
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) January 13, 2021
Although Michael Porter Jr. has played just four times this season, his absence is felt. The 22-year old forward is currently quarantining and won’t be available for another week. Although it’s been a small sample size, the former Missouri standout is dropping 19.5 points per night while grabbing 6.8 boards and shooting over 40% from three-point range. Porter Jr. has been a nice addition to the offense and will certainly add a spark once he returns.
Warriors Improving With Draymond In Lineup
Since Draymond Green has returned, Golden State has gone 4-3 through seven contests. Although he hasn’t necessarily been a pure scorer, averaging just 4.4 points per game, the veteran has added another dynamic to their offense. Green is dishing out 6.6 assists and collecting 5.1 rebounds while playing his usual gritty defense. His leadership and experience are a key component to this Warriors team, even when Green is having a cold night.
Golden State has collected some big wins this season, beating the Clippers, Raptors, and Trail Blazers, much in part to Steph Curry. The sharpshooter is showing out early on, dropping 27.8 points and dishing out 6.4 assists. Steph has four 30+ point performances already while putting up a ridiculous 62 against Portland on January 3rd. With limited offensive weapons around him, the two-time NBA champion has been rising to the occasion.
There are some decent players on this roster. James Wiseman has shown promise already, proving to be a physical presence on the glass, but he’s still learning the ropes of the NBA level. Kelly Oubre has been disappointing, however, he has a proven track record. Andrew Wiggins can make an impact on both ends of the floor, we’ve just seen inconsistency from him so far.
Andrew – 22p/7r/3a/5b
Stephen – 20p/4r/3a/2s
Kelly – 17p/5r/2a/1s/1b
Damion – 12p/3r/1s
James – 8p/9r/2b
Draymond – 7p/6r/10a/1s
Kevon – 3p/9r/1a
Kent – 3p/2r/3a/2s
Mychal – 3p
Brad – 1r/3a/1s pic.twitter.com/lGAOomouZ5
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) January 13, 2021
It’s certainly not the Golden State Warriors of the past. They don’t have a ton of depth either. The supporting cast around Curry needs to step up if this team wants any shot at making a run at a playoff spot in a heavily competitive Western Conference this season.
The Nuggets are coming off a shocking loss and will be eager to return home and get a victory. As for Golden State, they’re fresh off a defeat to Indiana. Denver is 3-8 against the spread this season. Nevertheless, I do think they’re going to put together a valiant effort, winning by a healthy margin and exposing a Warriors’ defense that ranks 19th in the league.
Pick: Denver Nuggets ATS -5 (-110)