When David Lee tore his hip flexor during an awkward fall on a layup attempt, the Nuggets finally caught a break. When you consider Ty Lawson's foot/heal/achilles issues, Danillo Gallinari's torn ACL, and Kenneth Faried's ankle sprain, it seemed as though the Nuggets were merely domino pieces, all just waiting their turn to fall. However, now with a 1-0 lead and in complete control, tonight and for the rest of the series, Denver needs to take advantage of David Lee's exit and Kenneth Faried entrance. Here's three ways Denver can dominate the Warriors for the remainder of the series:
1. Run - All season long head coach George Karl has been pushing his squad to run more. It makes sense, the Nuggets have length, speed, size, and finishers who excel in transition. With Carl Landry moving into the starting lineup at the four spot, the Warriors will be forced to use Draymond Green and Festus Ezeli with the second unit. Both of those big men can be beat on the break but are pretty tough in the half court. Also, as we saw in the first game of the series, Andrew Bogut is still a dominant paint filler when he wants to be. Points need to come before he has a chance to establish himself in the paint.
2. Crash the Offensive Glass - David Lee is an elite scorer at the power forward position, but it will be his passing and rebounding that the Warriors will miss most over the course of the series. Carl Landry is a good scorer and an overall better defender than Lee, but his weaknesses are defensive rebounding and passing. The pressure will all be on Andrew Bogut to box out the entire Nugget's team while Andre Iguodala inevitably throws up a few bricks. The stage is set for Kenneth Faried and JaVale McGee to have some monster games, starting on the offensive boards.
3. Defend the Three - Not the three-point shot, which is also important, but defend the position. Rookie starter Harrison Barnes is shockingly talented. He can jump out of the gym, shoots the ball very well, and has impressive defensive instincts. It will be important that Corey Brewer and Wilson Chandler stay discipline while defending Barnes, instead of taking risky chances for steals.
Here's the deal. Even if Denver executes all three of these to perfection they could lose, because Golden State has two of the best three point shooters in the game. If both sharpshooters (Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson) get hot, it won't matter what the Nuggets do. However, if one or both are off just a little bit, it is crucial the Nuggets take advantage by running, crashing the glass, and playing sound defense.
Want to share your thoughts regarding the series or maybe just complain about a few calls? Tweet me at @RotoCole and I'll be your crying shoulder. Go Nuggets!Back to the Denver Nuggets Newsfeed