Denver Nuggets

Can Kings pull of upset against Nuggets in Denver?


Can Kings pull of upset against Nuggets in Denver?

The Sacramento Kings begin another rough scheduling stretch, playing five games in seven nights against five teams fighting for playoff position in three different time zones. They’ll begin the barrage of games Sunday afternoon at the Pepsi Center against the Denver Nuggets.

Sacramento picked up their 21st win of the season Friday evening at Golden 1 Center against the Orlando Magic. Garrett Temple led the way with 23 points and Kosta Koufos posted a big 18-point, 13-rebounds double-double.

Denver is in a dogfight in the Western Conference playoff chase. They are currently tied with the Utah Jazz for the ninth spot in the standings and they trail the Los Angeles Clippers by just a game for the eight seed with 16 games remaining on the schedule.


Denver by 11.5


Bogdan Bogdanovic vs. Gary Harris -- Bogdanovic is in a mini shooting slump over his last two games, but he finds ways to help his team. Against the Magic on Friday night, he posted a career-best 10 assists to go with eight points. Harris is having a breakout season in his fourth year in the league. He averages 17.8 points on 40.7 percent shooting from long range in 35 minutes per game for head coach Michael Malone.


Kings: 21-45, fourth place in Pacific

Nuggets: 36-30, fourth place in Northwest


Kings: PG De’Aaron Fox (lower back strain) questionable, C Willie Cauley-Stein (lower back) questionable, PF Skal Labissiere (bruised left hip) out, SG/SF Iman Shumpert (knee rehab/plantar fasciitis) out, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out for the season. 

Nuggets: SF Wilson Chandler (right hip) probable.


Playoff Intensity -- The Kings don’t have anything but pride to play for in the final 16 games of the season, but every game matters for the Nuggets. Denver plays five of their next six contests against non-playoff teams as they try to fight their way back into the postseason picture. 

Walking Wounded -- Sacramento’s injury report is long and includes plenty of the young players that Dave Joerger was hoping to turn to down the stretch. Labissiere won’t play after taking a major spill against Orlando. Fox and Cauley-Stein will be game time decisions. 

Hit the Defensive Glass -- Denver ranks second in the league in offensive rebounds at 11.1 boards per game. The Kings need to get a body on the Nuggets bigs and finish off the defensive possession with a rebound. Sacramento ranks last in the league in defensive rebounds, so it could be a long afternoon.


Denver leads the season series 2-1, but the Kings own a one game win streak after knocking off the Nuggets at Golden 1 Center in early January. The Nuggets hold a slim 90-89 lead the all-time series but the Kings are up 66-65 during the Sacramento-era. 

Gameday: Can sluggish Warriors conquer 'scheduled loss' game?


Gameday: Can sluggish Warriors conquer 'scheduled loss' game?

When the Warriors slog into Pepsi Center on Saturday to face Denver, trying to conquer what NBA insiders refer to as a “scheduled loss,” they’ll have reinforcements that were not available 24 hours earlier.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 5 o’clock, with tipoff scheduled for 6:05.

The Warriors (41-11), who arrived at their Denver hotel around 4 a.m., will have the services of veterans Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, both of whom missed the game Friday night in Sacramento. The Warriors also missed them, as they had to overcome 25 turnovers to gain the win.

The Nuggets (27-25) are coming off one of their most impressive games of the season, a 127-124 victory over Oklahoma City on Thursday night. Denver has been inconsistent, as indicated in the fact that it has yet to win or lose more than three games in a row all season.

Warriors by 5

Zaza Pachulia & Co. vs. Nikola Jokic: The Nuggets are one of several teams that play through their big, and it’s because Jokic is the best passer on the team. The Warriors will attempt to bother him with the occasional double-team as well as playing the passing lanes. He’s coming off a triple-double (29 points, 13 rebounds, 14 assists) in the win over OKC. Pachulia will have plenty of help, and he’ll need all of it.

Warriors: G Pat McCaw (bruised toe) was listed as questionable, but is available to play. F Jordan Bell (L ankle inflammation) and F/C David West (personal reasons) are listed as out.

Nuggets: G Gary Harris (L ankle soreness) is listed as probable. F Tyler Lydon (L knee surgery), F Paul Millsap (L wrist surgery) and C Mason Plumlee (R calf strain) are listed as out.

LAST 10:
Warriors: 8-2. Nuggets: 5-5.

Ed Malloy (crew chief), Ray Acosta, Ben Taylor

This is the fourth meeting this season, with the Warriors winning two of the first three. The Warriors won two of three meetings last season and have won nine of 13 in the Steve Kerr era. The Warriors are 5-5 in their last 10 games in Denver.

THE BACKCOURTS: There is plenty of talent on both sides. Denver has perhaps the best under-25 starting backcourt in the NBA, as Gary Harris (23 years old) and Jamal Murray (20) are potential All-Stars. They’re skilled and fearless. The Warriors, with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, have two perennial All-Stars. This is likely where the game will be decided.

THE BENCHES: With the Warriors forced to play their starters fairly heavy minutes to secure the win Friday night, the bench will come into play, particularly on defense. Denver’s second unit is 27th in true-shooting percentage, 26th in defensive rating and also prone to turnovers. This is a battle the Warriors can win, and they’ll probably need to.

THE GLASS: The Nuggets play with energy; are No. 2 in rebounding differential (plus-4.0), No. 2 in offensive rebounding and No. 4 in second-chance points. In three games this season, Denver has outscored the Warriors 50-30 in second-chance points. Considering the altitude and their travel schedule, this could be a problem for the Warriors.

Curry, Warriors hold off pesky Nuggets, improve to 33-8

Curry, Warriors hold off pesky Nuggets, improve to 33-8


OAKLAND -- Even when Stephen Curry isn't at his best he can still be downright brilliant.

Curry scored 32 points and dished out nine assists in another superb performance during his sensational recent stretch, and the Golden State Warriors beat the Nuggets 124-114 on Monday night to avenge an ugly home loss to Denver in late December.

"When you've got a guy as talented as Steph, he is who he is," teammate David West said. "The rest of us sort of understand and expect him to do what he's going to do."

Klay Thompson scored 19 on his bobbblehead night while Draymond Green added a season-high 23 points and 10 assists in the defending NBA champions' fifth straight victory on a night when Kevin Durant sat out his third consecutive game with a strained right calf.

Nikola Jokic had his first triple-double of the season with 22 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists as four players scored 20 points or more for the Nuggets, who were coming off a 106-98 loss at Sacramento on Saturday.

In his 12th 30-point game of the season, Curry hit a long 3-pointer with 56.1 seconds left in the third and the Warriors led 93-81 going into the final quarter after the Nuggets had fought back to tie it midway through the period.

"I didn't think he played that well, but this is Steph Curry. On a night when he's not maybe at his best, he's still dominating the game in parts," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "He hit the big shots during that stretch."

Curry shot 9 for 17 overall, including 5 of 10 from 3-point territory.

The two-time MVP has scored 29 or more points in seven straight games. In four games before Monday, he was averaging 36 points, six rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.3 steals in 31.8 minutes since returning from an 11-game absence due to a sprained right ankle.

The Western Conference player of the week for last week, Curry strained his left knee in the first half, headed to the locker room to have it taped and then returned.

West contributed 10 points, scoring in double figures for a third straight game to go with six rebounds and four assists while becoming the 127th player in NBA history to play in 1,000 regular-season games.

"It looks like his 100th game, the way he's moving out there," Thompson said.

Said Kerr: "David West is playing like he's 25 years old."

Thompson made his initial four shots and Green scored eight quick points, connecting on his first three field goal attempts. He handed out five assists as Golden State raced ahead 27-20 - a far cry from the Warriors' previous performance in a 96-81 loss to Denver at Oracle Arena on Dec. 23.

The Warriors shot 3 for 27 in that game from 3-point range but topped that with four 3s in the first quarter Monday and finished 13 for 30 from deep.

Thompson's 3-pointer with 4:10 left in the third made it 78-71 after Denver had tied the game 89-all at the 6:57 mark of the period.

The Nuggets held the Warriors to a season-low scoring performance here last time that snapped their 11-game winning streak. Golden State has won seven of eight since.

Denver got 22 points from Gary Harris, and 21 apiece from Jamal Murray and Trey Lyles.

"Even when there were times where it looked like the game was getting out of hand, our guys never let go of the rope," Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. "We never quit working. We forced them to bring their starters back in. We forced them to finish that game out."

Kerr said Durant "didn't feel quite right" after going through shootaround earlier in the day.

"We're all on the same page that until he feels right, he's not going to play," Kerr said. "Hopefully the next couple of days he'll clear that hurdle and be ready to go."

Green was fined $25,000 by the NBA for publicly criticizing the league's officiating in comments after Golden State's 121-105 win against the Clippers on Saturday.

Nuggets: Denver limited its turnovers to 11 after committing a season-high 26 at Sacramento two days earlier that led to 40 Kings points. ... Denver is 3-11 on the road vs. Western Conference teams.

Warriors: Andre Iguodala hit his first 3-pointer in nine games he's played since Dec. 18, snapping an 0-for-12 funk from deep when he made one in the first. ... Golden State rookie Jordan Bell took a hard fall in the second quarter and moved gingerly afterward. ... Newly crowned U.S. figure skating national champion and Olympian Nathan Chen attended the game, watched Curry's warmup and was set to meet him afterward.

Nuggets: Host the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday.

Warriors: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday seeking a 13th consecutive victory in the rivalry.