Apr 26, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) celebrates after the Warriors defeated the Denver Nuggets 110-108 in game three of the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

It's Do-or-Die Time for the Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets can’t afford to lose tonight. Though tonight’s game in Oakland isn’t an elimination game, the chances of winning three straight after losing three straight are slim-to-none. A win tonight evens the series and brings home court advantage back to Denver, giving the Nuggets a chance in Game 5 to take a 3-2 lead heading back to Oakland and ensuring at least a Game 7 in Denver. A loss tonight? Well, that may as well wrap things up. Denver would be faced with the task of winning three straight against one of the hottest teams in the playoffs, against one of the hottest 3-point shooters in NBA history in Stephen Curry.

Quick hits:

  • Golden State shot 64.6 percent in Game 2 and 52.5 percent in Game 3. When they’re hitting shots and Draymond Green is converting full speed fastbreak reverse layups, then the Nuggets are as good as dead.

The basics?

  • Where? Oracle Arena — Oakland, California
  • When? 9:30 ET on TNT

Probable starters:

  • PG – Ty Lawson
  • SG – Evan Fournier
  • SF – Andre Iguodala
  • PF – Wilson Chandler
  • C – Kenneth Faried

Probable starters:

  • PG – Jarrett Jack
  • SG – Stephen Curry
  • SF – Klay Thompson
  • PF – Harrison Barnes
  • C – Andrew Bogut

Golden State is shooting 44.8 percent from range through three games in this series. If that sustains tonight, you can count the Nuggets good as dead. Ironically one of the Nuggets strengths through the regular season — rebounding — has been a huge weakness in their first round match up. The Warriors are averaging 44.3 rebounds to the Nuggets 35 a game. That’s probably skewed a bit due to Golden State’s hot shooting: there’s more defensive rebounds available for the Warriors than there is for the Nuggets.

A hot topic amongst fans has been the playing time of Andre Miller, particularly late in games. Since his heroic performance in Game 1, he’s been dreadful. He looks — for a lack of better terms — old. He’s getting burnt by whoever guards him and he’s been shot happy and turnover prone in the half court offense, which takes away from Ty Lawson’s (whose been dealing the last two games) opportunities. George Karl told the Denver Post that it’s highly unlikely that he changes his late game rotations and plans on keeping Miller in because of the #VETERANLEADERSHIP he brings.

Prediction: I thought Golden State’s Game 2 hot shooting performance was a bit of a fluke, thus predicting that the Nuggets would steal Game 3. I’m not so sure anymore. Literally EVERYONE in a Warriors uniform is lighting up the box score — aside from Klay Thompson in Game 3 — and I’m not sure that changes tonight. If Ty Lawson plays like he did in Game 3, then the Nuggets have a chance. But it’s tough to bet against Steph Curry right now. And if #OldManMiller flips into senile mode then it’s really tough to go with the Nuggets. Warriors 104, Nuggets 100.


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