Denver Nuggets: Five reasons they will beat the Golden State Warriors
It's been an exciting NBA regular season for a lot of reasons, including the Miami Heat's 27-game winning streak and the epic battle between Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant for the scoring title. But don't overlook the Denver Nuggets, who had one of the best season's in franchise history. The team exploded following the All-Star break, and last night, they locked up the three seed -- meaning they will face the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the playoffs. Who has the edge? We've broken it down into five categories to determine who will come out on top.
Big photos below.
What's the old saying? Offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships. Clichés are obnoxious, but they exist for a reason. The last three NBA champions -- the Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers -- didn't capture titles by running people out of the building.
Denver Nuggets Facebook page Andre Iguodala
Before the All-Star break, the Nuggets were allowing 102.6 points per 100 possessions, thirteenth in the league per NBA.com. Their front line blocked a decent amount of shots, but the bigs routinely got lost on pick-and-roll coverage, either failing to hedge on screens hard enough to knock the ball-handler off course or dropping too far off and allowing high percentage jump shots. Golden State gave up 103.4 per 100 possessions, good for seventeenth in the league.
Post All-Star break, both teams became much stingier. Both Denver and Golden State cut down their point allowances, to 100.7 and 101.4 per 100 possessions, respectively -- sixth and seventh in the league. But Denver that has shown the most consistency. Golden State lacks any real shot blockers except when Andrew Bogut is healthy, but beyond Bogut, the front line is thin. David Lee is known around the league for his lack of defense, and although Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson have improved defensively this year, Golden State has still been forced to operate on a "pack the paint" principle, forcing everything to the middle. Denver, on the other hand, has a real lockdown defender in Andre Iguodala and legitimate shot blocking in JaVale McGee and Kosta Koufos. If Denver can limit Golden State's spot-up opportunities and contain Curry on the pick and roll, this series should be over in five games. Edge: Denver Nuggets
Continue counting down the five reasons why the Denver Nuggets will beat the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs.