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We’re back with another edition of the Bloggers Roundtable, and today Steve Berman (Bay Area Sports Guy), Ethan Sherwood Strauss (WarriorsWorld & ESPN.com) and Adam Lauridsen (Fast Break) take on a trio of questions regarding the Warriors-Nuggets’ first-round playoff series.With tipoff of Game 1 fast approaching, let’s get right to it.

What will be the key of all keys for the Warriors to win this series?

Steve Berman | Bay Area Sports Guy | @BASportsGuy
Andrew Bogut always says the key to winning is keeping the other team under 100 points, because he feels pretty comfortable about the Warriors' chances of scoring at least that many. The Nuggets average 106 per game and play at the second-highest place in the NBA, so keeping them under 100 may not be realistic every night. To keep Denver at or below their average, the Warriors must avoid getting killed on the offensive glass by Kenneth Faried, JaVale McGee and Kosta Koufos. It won't be easy, since the Nuggets have grabbed more offensive rebounds than any other team in the league. But if the Warriors can keep the second-chance points to a minimum and make the most of their transition opportunities, that takes away Denver's greatest advantage.

Ethan Sherwood Strauss | WarriorsWorld & ESPN.com | @SherwoodStrauss
The keys are threes, man. Denver is one of the worst teams at defending the three-ball and GSW is one of the best teams at shooting it. Stephen Curry is averaging a whole additional made three-pointer since the All-Star break and seems more inclined than ever to let it fly. If the Dubs shoot over 40% from deep in the series, I'd guess they take this one. The best defense is a three-point-flood of an offense.

Adam Lauridsen | Fast Break | @GSWFastBreak
Prevent the Nuggets from playing at their preferred tempo. Defense wins playoff series, and in the first round the Warriors will need to find a way to slow down the Nuggets' league-leading offense. It'll need to be a team effort -- Curry, Jack and Thompson picking up the Denver guards early in the possession and Lee, Bogut and Ezeli clogging the middle to prevent easy baskets. If the Warriors can force the Nuggets to play a more half-court game, the loss of Gallinari becomes much more damaging. Besides defense, avoiding turnovers and battling on the offensive glass will also prevent the Nuggets from playing the fast and lose style in which they thrive.


For more of Adam Lauridsen's takes on the Nuggets/Warriors match-up, visit blogs.mercurynews.com/warriors.

Stephen Curry averaged 18.5 points and 5.8 assists against the Nuggets this season. (photo: Ezra Shaw/NBAE/Getty)

What Nuggets “role” player is most likely to step in to a “starring” role against the Warriors?

Steve Berman | Bay Area Sports Guy | @BASportsGuy
Wilson Chandler is a tough matchup for any team these days, and the Warriors are no exception. In the six games since Danilo Gallinari tore his ACL, Chandler has averaged 20.2 ppg and 6 rpg while shooting 52.2% from the field and 44.1% on threes. Chandler's best two games came when Gallinari was still active -- he scored 35 points in a 105-103 win over the Thunder at home on Mar. 1 and also dropped 35 in a 119-118 win at Chicago on Mar. 18. This is going to be an extremely difficult matchup for Harrison Barnes. If the Warriors' rookie small forward gets in foul trouble early, Mark Jackson will be forced to use Richard Jefferson and/or Draymond Green. There's no way David Lee or Carl Landry would have a chance against Chandler, and they'll have their hands full anyway.


Bay Area Sports Guy Steve Berman recently hosted a podcast featuring fellow Bloggers Roundtable panelist Ethan Sherwood Strauss. LISTEN NOW.

Ethan Sherwood Strauss | WarriorsWorld & ESPN.com | @SherwoodStrauss
Fear JaVale. Hey, don't laugh. If Andrew Bogut's gimpy, McGee can wreak havoc with his speed and leaping ability. Denver loves their lobs, and JaVale could be the beneficiary of many (non Shaqtin' a Fool) highlights in this series. McGee is fun to mock, but I doubt he'll be fun to play against in this matchup.

Adam Lauridsen | Fast Break | @GSWFastBreak
Wilson Chandler. The Warriors didn't see much of him this season because their match-ups were front-loaded on the schedule, but he's become a key piece since Gallinari was injured. He's big enough to play some power forward and can stretch defenses all the way to the three point line. He makes a very difficult match-up for Lee or Landry to defend and will punish the Warriors if they lose track of him while focusing on some of the better known Nuggets. At the other end, Chandler will be one of the bigger Nuggets blitzing Curry to get the ball out of his hands. His size and reach will make Curry's passes out of those tight situations even more difficult. Last but not least, the Warriors need to keep their elbows clear of Chandler's mouth.

Denver's Wilson Chandler has produced at a high level since Danilo Gallinari was lost for the season due to injury. (photo: Glenn James/NBAE/Getty)

What are the Warriors’ biggest advantages and disadvantages heading into this series?

Steve Berman | Bay Area Sports Guy | @BASportsGuy
The biggest advantage for the Warriors comes from employing the best player. Stephen Curry has blossomed into the best shooter from pretty much anywhere, which means the Nuggets' defensive game plans start and stop with him. Although he hasn't had many opportunities to play in important games as a pro, Curry has shown a knack ever since he was from Davidson for catching fire at the time when the most people are paying attention. He's also a strong passer when he's focused on making the right play instead of the flashiest play, and if he can bounce back and forth between facilitator and shooter well enough to keep Denver on its heels the Warriors should have no problem scoring. The Warriors have another advantage in that their All-Star, David Lee, goes into this series much healthier than Kenneth Faried. If the Nuggets focus most of their attention on Curry, Lee could make them pay.

The biggest disadvantage for the Warriors (despite not having homecourt advantage against a team that plays extremely well at home) comes from their frontcourt defense, unless Andrew Bogut's ankle gets better quickly and stays healthy throughout the series. The Nuggets will challenge the Warriors by sending guys to the rim, both as penetrators and offensive rebounders, and the Warriors will need to box out like never before. Denver would love to get Bogut out of the game due to foul trouble or exhaustion and force Jackson to choose between playing small or utilizing Festus Ezeli ... or even dusting off Andris Biedrins, who has played only twice in the last month for a grand total of 15 minutes. Denver grabbed the most offensive rebounds in the NBA this season, and the number of putback dunks the Warriors allow could have a lot to do with how this series plays out.

Ethan Sherwood Strauss | WarriorsWorld & ESPN.com | @SherwoodStrauss
Stephen Curry treats Ty Lawson like a ball rack. When we say, "This guy can't guard that guy," it's often hyperbole. In this case, Lawson's literally too short to contest Curry's jumper--and it showed in the season series. This will force Denver to find some contorted means of hiding Lawson, as Ty can't capably guard the larger Klay Thompson either. As for GSW's disadvantages, they don't have the right personnel to handle Denver's fast-paced rim onslaught. After all the running on transition D, don't be surprised if you see Andrew Bogut turn some shade of green.

Adam Lauridsen | Fast Break | @GSWFastBreak
The Warriors' biggest disadvantage is Denver's comparative depth. The Nuggets can run all day and have the extended rotation to support it, even with injuries. The Warriors, on the other hand, have contracted their rotation to essentially eight men (seven if Bogut can't go). In the mile-high altitude of Denver against a run-and-gun team, it's going to be tough for the Warriors to maintain energy and focus. I worry that their defense will suffer as they wear down physically, allowing Denver to set the tempo. The Warriors' biggest advantage is their wealth of shooters. It all starts with Curry. When he heats up, Denver will need to start pulling extra help to slow him down, distorting their defensive coverage for the other four men on the court. Thompson, Barnes, Lee and Jack (when he's in) should be able to exploit the gaps and seems that will develop in a Curry-focused defense.


Stay tuned for more from this 'Bloggers Roundtable' throughout the postseason, and access prior discussions among this group by clicking here.

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