Win or Go Home

by

Tonight’s Warriors-Nuggets game should be a track meet for the ages. The final playoff spot in the most competitive regular-season race in memory (maybe of all time) effectively comes down to tonight.

These teams rank one-two in both possessions and points per game. The Dubs are just a fraction more efficient offensively; the Nugs are markedly more efficient defensively, but plagued by inconsistency. The game’s in Oakland, thankfully, but a 5 p.m. local start could hamper crowd energy early on. Basically, it’s going to be a feather-weight brawl.

Here’s what I’ll be looking for, though, having watched a ton of Warriors games recently: turnovers. The Warriors lead the league in creating turn-overs. Part of that owes to pace, but right now the Warriors force 16 TO’s a game and only give it back 12 times. It’s probably the main thing that keeps their defensive rating mediocre, as opposed to atrocious.

Luckily for the Warriors, the schedule has been a bit kinder this week, and the defensive energy should be up. Their late-March swoon coincided with a brutal schedule that had them play four — four! — back-to-backs in less than three weeks. After beating the Kings two nights ago, Baron told Comcast’s goofy sideline dude that even just a day off between games recharges the body tremendously. It’s a key for a team that rides its starters for nearly 40 minutes a night, every night.

With two teams going tonight who can flat out score, whichever one can shave off just a little of firepower will be sitting on an advantage.

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