Denver Nuggets vs Golden State Warriors 4/18/22: Starting Lineups, Matchup Preview, Betting Odds, Predictions

Denver Nuggets vs. Golden State Warriors Matchup Preview (4/18/22)

Game One between the Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors was not as competitive as NBA fans would have liked. It ended up being a 16-point deficit by the final horn, but it felt out of reach for a majority of the game. This was the Golden State Warriors at their finest, looking a lot like they did towards the beginning of the season. Specific teams with such maturity, experience, and leadership can “turn it on” when it matters most, but the fact they are going to miss out on home-court advantage if they win their series and the Grizzlies do the same is not ideal.

Denver got a solid game out of Nikola Jokic, but it wasn’t good enough to keep the Nuggets within striking distance of Golden State. Jokic posted an impressive 25/10/6 line, but it will probably take even more than that to keep up with a team that many thought was the best in the league during the first half of the season. There is good news: Michael Porter Jr is not ruling out a comeback from his nagging back injury for this series. If Porter comes back, there is a possibility Denver can make this interesting.

Denver Nuggets vs. Golden State Warriors Betting Odds

Draymond Green thinks that Nikola Jokic will come back with a vengeance in Game Two. While Green may be right, I don’t think that will be enough to keep Denver in the game. Jokic’s production will go up, but Steph Curry and Klay Thompson’s will, too. It’s hard for me to imagine Curry and Thompson combining for merely 35 points again; the Denver defense is not that good. I will again take the Golden State Warriors against the spread for Game Two.

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How To Watch

Date: 4/18/22
Time: 10:00 PM ET
Arena: Chase Center – San Francisco, CA
Channel: TNT

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Denver Nuggets Starting Lineup

PG: Monte Morris
SG: Will Barton
SF: Jeff Green
PF: Aaron Gordon
C: Nikola Jokic

Denver Nuggets Analysis

Denver got stomped on in Game One; it may not have ended up being a 20 or 30-point deficit at the end, but it felt like it for most of the game. The key to the Nuggets having a real shot in this series is the return of Michael Porter Jr. Porter contributes very little on the defensive end, but he can score in bunches and should help spread out the offense more. This season, one of Denver’s struggle areas has been consistent three-point shooting; it ranks in the bottom half of the NBA in 3P% (three-point percentage.) Porter would be an immediate help there and could give Denver enough offense to keep up with Golden State. In the meantime, the Nuggets will have to try and steal one on the road in Game Two. The only way they can really do that is if Jokic goes nuclear.

Golden State Warriors Starting Lineup

PG: Steph Curry
SG: Klay Thompson
SF: Andrew Wiggins
PF: Draymond Green
C: Kevon Looney

Golden State Warriors Analysis

It’s rare to allow a player to score 25 points, pull down ten rebounds, and dish out six assists and still say that he was held in check, but that is exactly what the Golden State Warriors did in Game One against Nikola Jokic. Joklc will always get his, but keeping him to reasonable numbers (by his standards) and forcing other guys to step up and hit shots is precisely how you can beat the Nuggets in five or six games. Draymond Green was a massive reason for Jokic’s modest numbers (again, relative) in Game One. Few players in the NBA are better on the defensive end than Green, and it indeed showed. The Warriors will need four outings like this from Green to ensure a series win against Denver. Additionally, Jordan Poole has to continue playing at an All-Star caliber level. Poole dropped 30 points on the Nuggets; it seems like a good time to state that he was shockingly not named a finalist for Most Improved Player this season. Still, it is a good sign that neither Steph Curry nor Klay Thompson got to 20 points in Game One, and the Warriors still posted 123 points. If they continue playing at this level, they cannot be ruled out of another deep postseason run.

Drew is a lead NBA writer at Lineups.com where he has been covering in-season basketball coverage to the NBA Draft. He is a former collegiate player who now spends time diving into NBA prospects and evaluating the analytics of the NBA.

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