Programming note: Warriors-Nuggets coverage starts tonight at 5pm with Warriors Pregame Live on CSN Bay Area, and streaming live right here.
Klay Thompson will be on the bench nursing a sore right heel, and Shaun Livingston will be back in the Bay Area awaiting the birth of his first child Monday night when the Warriors face the Nuggets at Pepsi Center.
Suddenly, the Warriors backcourt is thin again. Patrick McCaw likely will start at guard alongside Stephen Curry, with Ian Clark and Briante Weber, both barely 6-foot-2, being the only true guards in reserve.
The Warriors (46-8) will be chasing their ninth win in 10 games.
Denver (24-30) also will be without a couple key players, as forwards Kenneth Faried and Danilo Gallinari are out with injuries.
The Nuggets, even when healthy, have been awful on defense. Seven of their last eight opponents have rung up at least 117 points.
Warriors by 12
MATCHUP TO WATCH
JaVale McGee vs. Nikola Jokic: Some of McGee’s best moments came during his two-plus seasons in Denver. He’ll want to show well. Jokic will make that difficult. Six days from his 22nd birthday, the highly skilled Serbian already is one of the league’s most dangerous big men; his 26.96 PER is eighth in the NBA and tops among centers. If he has his way in and around the paint, the Nuggets keep it close.
Warriors: G Shaun Livingston (personal), C Zaza Pachulia (R rotator cuff strain), G Klay Thompson (R heel soreness) and F/C David West (L thumb fracture) are listed as out.
Nuggets: F Wilson Chandler (illness) is listed as questionable. G Emmanuel Mudiay (low back pain) is listed as doubtful. F Darrell Arthur (L knee soreness), F Kenneth Faried (R ankle sprain) and F Danilo Gallinari (L groin strain) are listed as out.
Warriors: 8-2. Nuggets: 5-5.
The Warriors won the first two meetings this season, the first in Denver and the second in Oakland. They have won eight of the last 10 overall.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
THE ROTATIONS: The absence of Thompson and Livingston will create havoc on the player rotations employed by coach Steve Kerr. Livingston typically starts the second and fourth quarters, allowing Curry to rest. Thompson is the designated shooter when Kevin Durant and Curry are on the bench. Much will be needed from swingman Andre Iguodala. Expect longer minutes from Weber.
TIME TO EAT: The Warriors are No. 1 in offensive rating. The Nuggets are No. 30 (dead last) in both defensive rating and opponents’ field-goal percentage. The numbers suggest whoever is on the court for the Warriors will have a chance to feast.
THE PACE: The thin air in Denver generally affects visiting teams more than the Nuggets, but the light rosters are bound to make both teams vulnerable. Both teams like to play fast, but that will be a particularly daunting challenge under these circumstances.