Submitted by Jim Hurley on Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 7:00 AM
The biggest surprise about the exciting Denver/Golden State series in the NBA’s Western Conference Playoffs isn’t that the series underdog Warriors are leading two games to one. It’s that they’ve actually looked like the better team the whole way through!
This was supposed to be a series where Denver was the better team overall, and Golden State would try to counteract that by hitting a bunch of treys. Sure, the Warriors could be competitive if the treys fell. But, that would be making up for their softness inside.
Well, you might be surprised to learn that Golden State is actually winning the toughness categories.
Game One: Golden State 51%, Denver 43%
Game Two: Golden State 57%, Denver 69%
Game Three: Golden State 49%, Denver 57%
It’s not that Golden State is playing great inside defense. They’re not. But, Denver’s two-point defense has been extremely disappointing. They did well in the first game (which they barely won), but were absolutely embarrassed inside the arc in Game Two and Game Three. No way you can beat Golden State if you’re letting them score this easily inside while they ALSO make a bunch of treys.
Game One: Golden State 55, Denver 45
Game Two: Golden State 36, Denver 26
Game Three: Golden State 42, Denver 34
How could this happen with David Lee on the sidelines? He’s a soft defender, but he does grab a lot of rebounds. Yet, with him either hobbled (Game One) or in street clothes, it’s the Warriors who have controlled the glass instead of the Nuggets. If you’ve been watching on TV, you‘ve seen their guards in particularly chasing down long rebounds on a very consistent basis. That’s an edge of at least +8 in all three games, and a total advantage on the boards of +28 for Golden State.
Denver was supposed to be the “defense and rebounding” team, while Golden State tried to make up for that with treys. Instead, Golden State is winning defense, rebounding, AND treys (up 30-19 in made three-pointers).
To its credit, the Denver defense is forcing a lot of turnovers in a helter-skelter series. Golden State has turned it over 17, 17, and 21 times. That’s kept the Nuggets within striking distance in two of three games. But, heavy series favorites aren’t supposed to be struggling this hard to stay competitive. If not for Andre Miller temporarily finding the fountain of youth late in Game One, the Warriors would have a commanding 3-0 series lead. As a big underdog!
Can Denver get it turned around Sunday Night? If they break serve, they’re right back where they need to be at 2-2 in the series with home court advantage back in their favor. If they can’t guard the basket more aggressively and grab some more rebounds, then it’s going to be 3-1 Warriors and virtually over. Definitely a “now or never” scenario for the suddenly struggling third seed.
JIM HURLEY has been reviewing series footage all weekend. He has some very strong ideas about this game and the rest of the Sunday card (New York, Miami, and San Antonio going for series sweeps against Boston, Milwaukee, and the Lakers). You can purchase the best side and total options right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about daily or long term service, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453. Be sure to ask about baseball when you call. If you’re not betting the bases, you’re leaving money on the table!
Back with you Monday for more playoff coverage. We’ll probably talk about Game Five of Chicago/Brooklyn. But, developments in the Oklahoma City/Houston series may bring that matchup to the Monday forefront. We try to focus on the most urgent or most exciting storylines here in the NOTEBOOK…while JIM HURLEY stays focused on making sure you GET THE MONEY!