Golden State Warriors vs Denver Nuggets 4/21/22: Starting Lineups, Matchup Preview, Betting Odds, Live Stream

Golden State Warriors vs Denver Nuggets Matchup Preview (4/21/22)

The Golden State Warriors (2-0) go on the road to face the Denver Nuggets (0-2) in Game 3 of the First Round. Denver was up 43-31 in the 2nd quarter of Game 2, but a 16-0 Warriors run extinguished the lead. From that point on, Golden State glided to a 126-106 victory. Stephen Curry came off the bench and scored 34 points on 5/10 from three. Curry’s plus minus was +32, the highest mark in the game. Jordan Poole, who was starting in Curry’s place, produced 29 points, 5 rebounds, and 8 assists on 5/10 from three. Klay Thompson contributed 21 points on 3/8 from three. Draymond didn’t light up the box score, but his impact goes far beyond the counting stats. He finished with 6 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, and 1 block. The Warriors will look to close this series out in four games to gain extra rest for their veteran core. The Grizzlies Timberwolves series looks like it will finish in 6 or 7 games, so getting the rest advantage will be a key factor for them in the Second Round. 

It’s clear that Jokic needs Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr back on the court. Jokic dropped 26 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, and 1 steal on 45 FG%. However, his teammates are simply not talented enough to perform the roles they are asked to at the moment. Will Barton produced 12 points and 10 rebounds on 33.3 FG%. Monte Morris added 12 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists on 62.5 FG%. Bench guards Nah’Shon Hyland (12 points) and Bryn Forbes (10) were the only other double digits scorers for the Nuggets. The offense struggles to create opportunities, much less convert them. Denver is shooting 33.8% from three. The defense has been disastrous; their Defensive Rating from the first two games is 131.7, a horrific mark. Overall, this series has been brutal to watch for the Nuggets.

Golden State Warriors vs Denver Nuggets Betting Odds

The spread for Game 1 was -6.5 Warriors, and Game 2 was -7 Warriors. However, it plummeted to -1.5 Warriors for Game 3. I understand that it’s difficult to start a series 3-0, but the Nuggets look completely outmatched. Neither of the previous games have been close, as Golden State won by 16 and 20 points. I am betting the Warriors to cover every time without hesitation. Their three-point shooting advantage is enough to tear down any Nuggets lead, while it can extend their own lead beyond reach. Denver’s backcourt is severely struggling on defense, which cannot happen against Curry, Klay, and Poole. Draymond has locked up Jokic, and the Warriors bench is deeper. Outside of rostering Jokic, there is nothing to like about this Denver team right now. The Warriors are scorching hot from deep and carry tremendous momentum. Everything has to go right for the Nuggets to cover here.

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TV Schedule

Date: 4/21/22
Time: 10:00 PM ET
Arena: Ball Arena – Denver, CO
Channel: TNT

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Golden State Warriors Starting Lineup

PG: Jordan Poole
SG: Klay Thompson
SF: Andrew Wiggins
PF: Draymond Green
C: Kevon Looney

Golden State Warriors Analysis

The 3rd iteration of the Death Lineup is making an appearance. When Curry, Poole, Klay, Wiggins, and Draymond are on the court together, the Warriors have a 204.3 Offensive Rating, 75 Defensive Rating, and 93.2 eFG%. Granted, they have only played 11 minutes together so far, but they have been utterly dominant. The most impressive part of this lineup is Draymond’s ability to guard likely-MVP Nikola Jokic. Jokic is 5” taller than Draymond and 54 lbs heavier, but Draymond has shut him down completely. If the Nuggets don’t get scoring and playmaking from Jokic, they won’t crack 100 points, especially with the sluggish pace they are playing at. The Warriors shouldn’t trot out this lineup too frequently this series because they shouldn’t risk wearing Draymond out. They need him for the upcoming rounds far more than this one. 

Although the Warriors obviously shouldn’t keep Curry on the bench for too much longer, it’s been a brilliant move so far. The Nuggets bench is being obliterated by Curry, which ensures Golden State wins the bench minutes. They are already winning the starter minutes with Poole dominating and Klay hitting threes, so Golden State has a stranglehold on the Nuggets.

Denver Nuggets Starting Lineup

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

Denver Nuggets Analysis

Denver doesn’t have a single player on the roster who is an above average guard defender, and it’s absolutely killing them. Golden State’s snipers are getting whatever shot they want from deep and converting. Jokic is being torn apart defensively in the pick and roll because of his poor lateral movement. The Warriors are dragging him out of the paint and exploiting him. He’s an underrated rim protector, and the Nuggets need to keep him in the paint. It’s time for Denver to experiment a little. They are down 2-0, and they will be blown out again if they continue to stick with their usual strategy. 

I don’t know how much they have practiced this, but throwing in some 3-2 zone may surprise the Warriors and give the Nuggets an advantage for stretches. A 3-2 zone is designed to limit outside shooting and allows for trapping. The Warriors are built on three-point shooting, and they were 29th in turnovers. Dominant post players can exploit this defense, but the Warriors don’t even have a good post up player. The Nuggets shouldn’t use it for long stretches; however, they need to try something to shake the series up somewhat.

Braxton has been writing for Lineups since December 2021 with the majority of his articles focused on the NBA. He is currently a senior at the University of Pennsylvania where he has spent the last few years working with various UPenn athletics teams and contributing to the UPenn Sports Analytics Group.

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