Denver Nuggets: Bones Hyland and Will Barton are X-factors against the Golden State Warriors

Bones Hyland #3 of the Denver Nuggets is fouled by Otto Porter Jr. #32 of the Golden State Warriors in the first half during Game Two of the Western Conference First Round NBA Playoffs at Chase Center on 18 Apr. 2022 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Bones Hyland #3 of the Denver Nuggets is fouled by Otto Porter Jr. #32 of the Golden State Warriors in the first half during Game Two of the Western Conference First Round NBA Playoffs at Chase Center on 18 Apr. 2022 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

After the first two games against the Golden State Warriors, it’s clear for the Denver Nuggets that the playoffs might end early. But if they are to put up a fight in this series, Bones Hyland and Will Barton need to step up in a big way.

One of the reasons for these defeats is that Nikola Jokic isn’t having the extra scoring support he needs to overpower the scorching hot Warriors. The impact of a Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr.-less roster showed how much of a struggle offensively the Denver Nuggets are having compared to their last opening-round series.

Denver is now in a considerable deficit with the series shifting to the Ball Arena for Games 3 and 4. There are many areas the team has to clean up from to avoid late second-quarter runs that lead to an avalanche of points for the Warriors.

The team now has to contain a new threat in their gameplay with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson regaining health and playoff form and newcomer Jordan Poole. Poole especially, whose playoff performance has been an X-factor in the Warriors’ offensive dominance.

In his first career start in the playoffs, Poole has scored 59 points while shooting over 59 percent beyond the arc. JP joins legendary company with Wilt Chamberlin as the only Warriors player with 25 points in each of their two playoff games.

The Denver Nuggets will need a Herculean effort to match Golden State pound for pound in scoring. Thankfully for Nuggets fans, two players can be that X-Factor to hopefully even this series as the next games are in Ball Arena.

Besides the need for Aaron Gordon to step up, the Nuggets have two players that can help. Both players’ numbers so far in this series are not astounding but can help their offense whether Porter Jr. and Murray return in these playoffs.

Related Story. Why Aaron Gordon needs to step up offensively in this series. light

Will Barton is one of the most playoff-experienced Nuggets on the roster, alongside Jokic and Monte Morris. Despite what happened on the sidelines in Game 2 between Barton and DeMarcus Cousins, Barton is a valuable piece on a depleted roster.

This season Barton was one of the only few Nuggets that came close to 15 points per game, five rebounds, and four assists. So far, his presence on offense in this series has been notable. Barton scored a solid 24 points in Game 1 and a double-double in Game 2, finishing both nights second on the team in scoring behind Jokic.

Barton is crucial not only to the offense, but his defense is vital to the roster on how they could play and both ends on the floor. The Nuggets need all the help they can get with the team, and the experience Barton has may need to play a higher role for the team since MPJ and Murray are still out.

Denver needs the offense to speed up and tire out Golden State on defense. With Barton, they need to allow him to create the penetration with Jokic and utilize his skills. Whether shooting from the perimeter to his efficient free-throw shooting, he can help Denver cut the series in half.

Alongside Barton, The rookie Bones Hyland also can be critical for the Nuggets coming off the bench.

In his first-ever playoff series, Hyland has little to ask a lot for a ten ppg scorer of the bench averaging 19 minutes a night during the season.

He may not play a lot, but the team’s strength is the bench, and Hyland does make an impact when he plays, providing the extra scoring and fast pace the Nuggets need to keep games in their favor.

If head coach Michael Malone hopefully sticks to what he did near the end of Game 2, the possibility of the Nuggets keeping it close against the Warriors will happen. It could be the deciding factor in turning the series around for the next two games in Denver.

The actual point guard role he’s been playing since the All-Star break has made him a spark plug for the team this year when playing in transition and rebounds. It increased his numbers after the All-Star game. The stats haven’t been eye-popping, but what you can ask of a young developing player who can provide what they need for the team when asked.

The Nuggets need these two, along with Morris (who put up career highs this season), Gordon, Cousins, Jeff Green, and Facundo Campazzo, to step up to survive the rest of the series.

Barton and Hyland are the essential pieces. When they get hot, it helps make the game easy for Jokic and their teammates. These two are the MPJ and Murray, playing different roles between the bench and starting.

If the Denver Nuggets can go the distance, both men need to play their roles and help keep the offense high and uptempo to avoid elimination and keep it going against the Warriors.

Next. Are the Nuggets putting undue pressure on Jamal Murray?. dark