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Is Denver Nuggets' Defense Wearing Out?

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Is Denver Nuggets' Defense Wearing Out?

Jordan’s NBA Picks: 28-16

Golden State (29-14 SU & 18-25 ATS) at Denver (29-13 SU & 23-19 ATS)

Tuesday, 9 p.m. EST

Free NBA Pick: OVER

Best Line Offered:

Why this game isn’t on national television, I don’t know. However, that won’t stop it from being one of the more popular games to bet on the Tuesday slate. With that in mind, the sharp action is probably to fade the public and bet the total and not the spread.

Denver Defense Leveling Off, Warriors’ Offense Leveling Up

The Nuggets’ defense has been nothing short of fantastic this season and they are going to need every bit of it on Tuesday night. In their first meeting of the year way back in October the Nuggets held the Warriors to under 100 points in Denver.

However, lately things have not been going well for Denver on that end of the court. If you look at their last nine games, four home and five on the road, the Nuggets are allowing nearly 113 points per 100 possessions. This is far from their 104.5 DRtg when they play at home this season.

The Warriors’ defense hasn’t been anything close to what it’s been in seasons past, but once DeMarcus Cousins steps on the court, that should start to change. While Cousins isn’t a great defender, his size and ability to protect the rim will be a valuable addition to this team. However, until then Golden State will have to rely on Draymond Green to guard Nikola Jokic in this one.

That matchup may not kill the Warriors but it will allow other members of the Nuggets to get shots. The Paul Millsap versus Kevon Looney matchup will ultimately favor the Nuggets and that could in fact be the difference if the Nuggets guards also come to play.

However, what is more likely to come into play is the Warriors ability to knock down three pointers. Denver doesn’t contain the drive that well, so if Stephen Curry or Kevin Durant are getting into the paint, there will be tons of open looks for the shooters on the outside.

Golden State has been doing this with success for a while now. In fact, if you look at their last seven games in the same span as Denver’s last nine, the Warriors are averaging 125.9 points per 100 possessions.

The Sharp Pick

While Gary Harris’ presence would be nice for the Nuggets, the blossoming shooting guard can’t seem to stay healthy. However, his absence lately to a hamstring injury has been blunted by the return of Will Barton.

I consider Barton to be one of the more underrated players in the league on both ends and even if he can only play around 20 minutes in this game, his defense and ability to slash against a weak Warriors defense is going to be crucial for this one.

However, while I am a bit scared by a potential Nuggets bounce back on defense, the Warriors are too hot right now. They have cashed the over in five of their last six games, while the Nuggets have cashed the over in six of their last nine. I see a close game with some bright spots on both ends, but ultimately the opening odds for this total are too low for the offensive potential from both sides.

Prediction: Warriors 118 – Nuggets 117