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Game Preview: Warriors vs. Nuggets - 12/23/17

DON’T FORGET – EARLY 5:30 P.M. TIP TIME
The third leg of the Warriors’ season-long seven-game homestand is set for Saturday as the Dubs host the Denver Nuggets. Like all weekend games at Oracle Arena this season, this game will have a special start time of 5:30 p.m. Additionally, the Dubs will be sporting their popular ‘The Town’ uniforms as a nod to Oakland. ‘The Town’ apparel has accounted for 34% of all sales at warriors.com and 31% at Warriors Team Store locations, and Saturday’s game will mark just the second time that the team will wear the special edition threads. Tickets are still available for the game, and the first 10,000 fans in attendance will receive a special ‘The Town’ t-shirt, courtesy of Cache Creek Casino Resort. Fans unable to attend the game can watch the action on NBC Sports Bay Area or listen to the action on 95.7 The Game and Warriors Radio Network. FIND TICKETS

LAST TIME OUT
Kevin Durant had 33 points, Draymond Green returned to action and Jordan Bell had career-highs of 20 points and 10 rebounds as the Dubs beat the Lakers 113-106 on Friday. Full Recap

MATCHUP AT A GLANCE

GSW DEN
26-6 17-15
1st in West 6th in West
PTS: 116.1 (1st) PTS: 107.1 (10th)
REB: 45.1 (7th) REB: 45.1 (6th)
AST: 30.3 (1st) AST: 23.3 (7th)

LAST GAME'S STARTERS
GSW: Patrick McCaw, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Jordan Bell
DEN: Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Wilson Chandler, Nikola Jokic and Mason Plumlee

INJURY & ROSTER NOTES
GSW: Zaza Pachulia (left shoulder soreness) and Shaun Livingston (sore right knee) are questionable. Stephen Curry (sprained right ankle) is out. Team Notes
DEN: Emmanuel Mudiay (right ankle sprain) is questionable. Paul Millsap (left wrist ligament injury) is out. Team Notes

HEAD-TO-HEAD
Saturday’s game will be the second of four matchups between the Dubs and Nuggets this season. The Warriors won the first one in Denver back on Nov. 4, using a 43-point third quarter to gain some separation in an eventual 127-108 triumph. Overall, the Warriors have won nine of their last 12 head-to-head matchups with Denver, including the last five at home.

TEAM LEADERS

GSW DEN
PTS: Durant (26.6) PTS: Harris (16.1)
REB: Green (7.4) REB: Jokic (10.3)
AST: Green (7.3) AST: Jokic (4.5)

BACK-TO-BACK
If there is ever a time for a team’s depth to be tested, it’s on the back end of a back-to-back. The Dubs have gone 4-1 in such games this season, and are 17-5 in that scenario since the start of the 2016-17 campaign. But with the current slate of injuries to the team, Saturday’s challenge becomes that much more daunting. That said, the Nuggets will also be on the back end off a back-to-back after playing in Portland on Friday, and they are 1-3 in that situation this year.

DENVER SCOUTING REPORT
Heading into Saturday’s game, the Nuggets are tied for fifth place in the West with a 17-15 record. Denver is looking to end a four-year playoff drought, and this year they might just have the depth to do so. Five players on their roster average at least 15 points, led by shooting guard Gary Harris (16.1 ppg). However, one of those players – Paul Millsap – is listed as out with an injury. The Nuggets are one of the top offensive rebounding teams in the game, so minimizing the impact of Nikola Jokic, Kenneth Faried and Mason Plumlee on the offensive glass will certainly be an area of focus for the Dubs. Denver has struggled on the road this season, but they did pick up a big win in Portland on Friday and another win in Oakland would certainly give the team some momentum heading into a five-game stretch in which they play at home four times.

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