Warriors-Nuggets Preview: Wait for Draymond Green's Status

Warriors vs. Nuggets Odds

Warriors Odds -5.5
Nuggets Odds +5.5
Over/Under 212.5
Time 9:30 p.m. ET
Odds updated Thursday morning and via <!–BetMGM–>BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Nuggets will look to make it two straight wins against the Warriors on Thursday night after topping Golden State at Chase Center as 7-point underdogs on Tuesday.

Denver barely escaped two days ago after a great first half, followed by an abysmal second half where only three Nuggets players made more than one field goal.

Can the Nuggets get consecutive wins vs. the Dubs, this time in Denver?

Warriors Missed Draymond Green Badly on Tuesday

Golden State is still shorthanded with Draymond Green still in protocols, but Jordan Poole is now available. Damion Lee remains is still out.

The Warriors missed Green for obvious reasons vs. Denver, but his ability to challenge Jokic in the post to prevent the need for doubles was most apparent. The Warriors felt compelled to send two at Jokic in the first half, and that opened things for the rest of the Denver offense.

The Warriors also surprisingly and confusingly chose to play drop coverage in pick and roll vs. Jokic, which both got Jokic downhill on the roll and prevented Golden State from stagnating the Nuggets’ limited perimeter actions.

But in the second half, they were more aggressive with their coverages, switching more and playing higher and tighter on Jokic.

Golden State played sloppy offensively vs. the Nuggets overall and Steph Curry was particularly rough with his passing. That’s an Achilles heel for Golden State going back years, but it doesn’t mean that the Warriors won’t be more focused for the revenge game.

Poole’s presence helps a lot in providing another on-ball creator as Golden State finished with just 20 assists when they average 28.

If you’re going to bet Golden State, wait until as close to tip as possible. Green may exit protocols — which will inflate the line but help the Warriors — and COVID absences have been rolling; the Warriors may lose more players to protocol.

Nuggets Offensive Not Explosive Enough Right Now

On top of missing Jamal Murray until February, Markus Howard for six weeks, and Michael Porter Jr. and PJ Dozier for the year, Aaron Gordon is questionable for this game, and Monte Morris and Austin Rivers are both day-to-day.

The Nuggets are, to say the least, extremely banged up.

They had a great first-half performance, challenging Curry’s handle and on-ball creation and hitting timely buckets before their carriage turned into a pumpkin at half.

However, ultimately their offense doesn’t have enough explosiveness on the perimeter to challenge a more locked-in Golden State, especially if the Warriors switch aggressively instead of the passive scheme they used in the first game.

Denver is just 6-8 ATS at home this season.

Jokic honestly didn’t play all that well in the first game, forcing several passes. It’s entirely possible he dominates this game and is enough to swing it towards the Warriors. If Green is out, taking Jokic’s rebounds prop is a good value given that he’s been a monster on the boards lately.

Warriors-Nuggets Pick

I make this line Warriors -8.9 fully healthy. If Green plays, the line probably moves to Warriors -6 or so and there’s still value. Getting two vs. the Warriors is difficult and much of Tuesday’s loss by Golden State was about their turnover issues.

If Gordon plays and Green doesn’t, this probably moves to Warriors -5 or less and Gordon matters; he can spend time chasing Curry around screens so Austin Rivers and Facu Campazzo don’t have to the whole game and his athleticism helps the offense.

But ultimately, Poole being back swings the value to the Warriors here. Denver will struggle to score vs. a more engaged Warriors team in a motivational spot (looking to avenge the loss this week at home and not suffer a — gasp — losing streak) and Golden State should be able to generate more offense with Poole back even if Green remains out.

Pick: Warriors -4.5, good to Warriors -7; wait for Draymond Green’s availability.