Denver valiantly staved off elimination with an impressive 126-121 comeback victory over Golden State in Game 4, behind 37 points from Nikola Jokic. The Nuggets finally started to generate perimeter scoring, shooting 48.4% (15 of 31) from 3P range. Now comes the hard part: winning Game 5 at Chase Center.
The Warriors have regained their championships form, buoyed by the full health of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. Each of the “Big Three” have missed significant time this season, and actually put forth their best game of the season in Sunday’s loss. Thompson (32 points) and Curry (33) points combined for 10 made 3Ps, while Green provided a double-double (13 points, 11 rebounds) before fouling out.
Denver will need their best game of the season on Wednesday night to extend this series to Game 6 in Denver. Will the Nuggets continue their scorching hot shooting from 3P range, or will Golden State advance to the second round of the playoffs with a dominant home closeout victory?
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Warriors vs. Nuggets Betting Odds
*Lines accurate at the time of publication.
Warriors vs. Nuggets Best Bets
Warriors -8.5 (-110, BetMGM)
Golden State has completely dominated this series. They have scored 118 points or more in every contests, and led 121-119 with just over a minute left on Sunday. While Nikola Jokic has posted consecutive 37-point performances, the Warriors did a much better job limiting his impact on the boards. Jokic tallied just eight rebounds in Game 4, his lowest output since March 24th. It was only the third time in the last 26 games the Jokic was held under 10 rebounds. The key to the Nuggets win was superior 3P shooting, highlighted by a combined 8 of 13 performance by Monte Morris and rookie Bones Hyland.
I don’t think the Nuggets supporting cast is capable of another night of that level of efficiency, especially back at Golden State. In the first two games, the Nuggets shot just 24 of 71 (33.8%) from beyond the arc. Golden State’s defense is returning to its early-season form, and the Warriors have the type interior defender in Draymond Green to allow their guards to cover the perimeter scorers.
Green and Kevon Looney were very effective at limiting Jokic in Golden State, holding him to just 25 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game in the two losses.
Golden State is the NBA’s second best cover team at home, carrying a 25-16-2 (61%) ATS record. Denver is just 5-11 (31.3%) ATS in their last 16 games. Still without Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., I simply can’t see Denver winning Game 5 against a full Golden State roster. If I can’t see Denver winning the game, I’m going to lay the big number with the Warriors in a closeout Game 5 victory.
Risk: 1.10 units on BetMGM to win 1 unit. (Bet up to -120)
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Warriors vs. Nuggets Game Total Under 225.5 Points (-110, DraftKings)
Denver can’t win a high-scoring game. Their supporting cast without Murray and Porter is severely limited, and isn’t realistic to expect Morris, Hyland, Will Barton, and Austin Rivers to produce enough scoring to carry a Game 5 road win. If the Nuggets keep this game close, it will be a direct result of a massive Jokic stat line and a strong defensive effort.
With Jokic as the focus of the offense, the Nuggets have one of the slower paces in the league. The Nuggets carried the 11th slowest pace this season, but have really struggled on the defensive end. In fact, their last five games (and eight of the last 10) have all played to the over.
I expect the Warriors to use their strong internal defense to limit Jokic again, and I have no faith in the Denver supporting cast to keep this game close. Despite both teams trending to the over, the blowout risk of this game adds to the likelihood of the first under of this series.
I’m taking the under in a closeout Game 5 that should have the Warriors advancing to the second round of the playoffs.
Risk: 1.10 units on DraftKings to win 1 unit. (Bet up to -120)
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