Warriors

Gameday: Solid shooting guard battle between Gary Harris, Klay Thompson

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AP

Gameday: Solid shooting guard battle between Gary Harris, Klay Thompson

OAKLAND -- With Kevin Durant on the sideline, the Warriors are riding Stephen Curry and he has delivered. That same formula may be in effect Monday night, when they face the Denver Nuggets at Oracle Arena.

The Warriors (32-8) have won four straight since Curry, who missed 11 games, returned on Dec. 30. Curry remains on the injury list, along with fellow starter Draymond Green, but both are likely to play. Durant, though, could miss his third consecutive game.

The Nuggets (21-18) should have the full attention of the Warriors, as they held the defending champs to a season-low 81 points last month at Oracle Arena. By winning that game, Denver is the only team already assured of beating the Warriors at least once in each of Steve Kerr’s first four seasons as coach.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 10.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Stephen Curry vs. Jamal Murray: Murray has spent the season solidifying his status as Denver’s starting point guard. The second-year player is only 20 but plays with the confidence of a vet. He played well in beating the Warriors last month, but he didn’t have to contend with Curry, who was on the injured list. The two-time MVP is back and he has been blistering everyone in his path.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: G Omri Casspi (hip contusion), G Stephen Curry (L knee soreness), F Draymond Green (R knee soreness), F Andre Iguodala (L knee and hip soreness) and G Shaun Livingston (hip tightness) are available to play. F Kevin Durant (R calf strain) is OUT. C Damian Jones is on assignment with the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors.

Nuggets: F Paul Millsap (L wrist ligament surgery) is listed as out.

LAST 10

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

GAME OFFICIALS

Bill Kennedy (crew chief), Marat Kogut, Derek Richardson

SERIES HISTORY

The teams split the first two of four meetings this season, with the Warriors taking a 127-108 win on Nov. 4 at Denver and the Nuggets posting a 96-81 win on Dec. 23 in Oakland. The Warriors won two of three last season and have won nine of the last 13 overall.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

THE GLASS WARS: The Nuggets have been and continue to be one of the league’s best offensive rebounding teams and have used that to hurt the Warriors in the past. They lead the NBA in second-chance points (14.8 per game) and piled up 18 in their last trip to Oakland. If the Warriors don’t block out, they’ll pay.

THE SHOOTING GUARDS: Klay Thompson hasn’t had many awful games this season, but he has struggled against Denver, scoring 15 points in each game, shooting 36.4, including 25.0 percent from deep. Denver’s big guard, Gary Harris, has done a solid job using physicality to deny Thompson. Can this be reversed?

JAVALE ETC.: The rotation of big men is fluid, with only Zaza Pachulia and David West getting stable minutes. What’s left goes to Jordan Bell, Kevon Looney and JaVale McGee -- in that order. McGee’s DNP-CD count is at nine, with five coming in the last four weeks. He could he see time against his former team as the Warriors consider trade options.

With DeMarcus Cousins back, GM Bob Myers updates Warriors' open roster spot

With DeMarcus Cousins back, GM Bob Myers updates Warriors' open roster spot

DeMarcus Cousins made his season debut on Friday night and that's all anybody is talking about.

The hyperfocus is very understandable, because his return was always going to be the most highly anticipated moment of the regular season.

Now that Cousins is officially in the mix, the Warriors' front office can finally evaluate his progress and zero in on what to do with the 15th and final open roster spot.

Will they automatically add a center as an insurance policy for Boogie?

"This gives us a window here prior to the deadline that will inform us in that direction. If DeMarcus comes back and looks great and looks healthy -- and a great wing is available via trade or a great wing is available via buyout -- sure we would look at that," general manager Bob Myers said on 95.7 The Game on Friday afternoon. "We'll factor in all we know in two weeks or three weeks when making that decision.

"But right now, the truth is we lost a center. We're getting one now but we always planned on getting DeMarcus. So we have a little bit of a void there, but you never know. If something happens in the next two weeks that leads us to believe we're short on wing depth -- hopefully not, knock on wood -- somebody sprains their ankle and is out 2-3 weeks, that may push in a different direction."

[RELATEDDeMarcus Cousins shakes nerves, then rust in impressive Warriors debut]

Damian Jones is out for the year after sustaining a torn pectoral, and he was the big man that could consistently catch lobs. As of now, the Warriors don't really have a true vertical threat who can set screens, roll to the rim and force defenses to stay attached. In a perfect world, Myers would be able to add somebody with this skillset, but those guys aren't exactly growing on trees. 

The Warriors have intentionally kept a roster spot open all season so they can have the flexibility to strike if somebody they really like becomes available. The trade deadline is Feb. 7, but if they aren't able to make a deal, they could always look to the buyout market or take a flyer on somebody in the G League.

"Happy that DeMarcus is coming back now so it gives us a chance to evaluate that better," Myers added. "Speculating on the trade market and buyout market -- you always go in with certain thoughts and inevitably it goes in a different direction. So, we'll see what's possible and we'll go from there."

The fact that Cousins is on the Warriors should be the perfect reminder that you never know what's going to happen...

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

DeMarcus Cousins' music choice during rehab caught Warriors off guard

DeMarcus Cousins' music choice during rehab caught Warriors off guard

DeMarcus Cousins is 28 years old, the same age as Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. He's just two years younger than Steph Curry and Kevin Durant. Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala have six and five years on him, respectively.

So it shocked Cousins' new teammates when they heard the music he listened to during his rehab process.

Cousins wasn't listening to new, current music to pump him up.

Cousins, according to Yahoo's Chris Haynes, went old school with his playlist, dropping some Luther Vandross, Babyface and Aretha Franklin.

As you might imagine, that caught people at the Warriors practice facility off guard.

Here's what a member of the Warriors organization told Haynes:

“Man, you don’t know if he’s getting ready to make love or preparing to shoot a basketball. It’s hard to work out when your mom’s music is on.”

Amazing.

Haynes relayed that quote to Cousins and he fired back.

“It’s always the young guys on the team who complain. I’m like, ‘Bro, is this all y’all listen to?’" Cousins said. "They’re listening to ‘Mo Bamba’ [song] and all this other [expletive]. I need to slow it down with some ’80s and ’90s music. That’s how I get down.”

Whatever Cousins was listening to, it worked. The four-time All-Star made his Warriors debut on Friday night and scored 14 points in 15 minutes. He threw down a thunderous dunk for his first points as a Warrior and nailed three 3-pointers.