Warriors at Nuggets Game 5 Picks and NBA Odds
by Alan Matthews - 4/30/2013
Stephen Curry made himself a household name among basketball fans when he led little Davidson to the Elite Eight of the 2008 NCAA Tournament, averaging 32.0 points per game. That pretty much assured Curry would be a high first-round pick, which he was by Golden State in 2009 after averaging 28.6 points per game as a senior.
Well, Curry is now making himself a household name to just about everyone as he has been arguably the most impressive player so far in these NBA Playoffs and has the seventh-seeded Warriors a win from a series upset of No. 3 Denver. Curry has had one bad game in this series, scoring 19 on 7-for-20 shooting in a Game 1 two-point loss. Since then, he hasn't scored less than 29 and the Warriors not less than 110. He was truly brilliant in Sunday's Game 4 115-101 victory. He scored an electrifying 19 points in the final 4:22 of the third quarter to give the Warriors a 19-point lead that Denver never threatened. Curry finished with 31 points along with seven assists and four steals.
In the 156 minutes Curry has been on the court in this series, the Warriors are plus-57 and average 117.5 points per 100 possessions. When Curry is on the bench, the Warriors are minus-29 and average 89.9 points per 100 possessions. Curry, the first Warrior to score at least 25 points in three straight playoff games since Tim Hardaway in May 1991, did get poked in the eye on Sunday and left the arena wearing a patch, but he'll start Tuesday night.
Warriors at Nuggets Betting Story Lines
I think everyone thought this series was over when Warriors all-star David Lee went down for the season in the series opener. Andrew Bogut has really stepped up his game in Lee's spot, however. The Warriors generally have surrounded Bogut with a small lineup, so it's vital that he crash the boards and be a defensive anchor in the middle. He had 12 points and five rebounds in Game 4, numbers that don't really tell the whole story. Bogut is shooting 66.7 percent from the field in the series. Warriors coach Mark Jackson has used guard Jarrett Jack more with Lee out -- in the past three games Jack is averaging nearly 43 minutes a game and 23.3 points. He's a free agent after this season and is making himself a ton of money.
A major problem thus far for Denver has been the ankle injury of Kenneth Faried as he's clearly struggling with it. He should be dominating the glass with Lee out but isn't moving well at all. It's not a coincidence the Nuggets' lone win in this series came when Faried missed the opener. During the regular season, Faried averaged 11.5 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocked shots against Golden State. In this series it's 9.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and no blocks.
It will be interesting to see if Nuggets coach George Karl uses the trap in this game. The Warriors have been breaking it with ease, and Karl did scrap it in the second half of Game 4. Karl also has been playing odd rotations so far. Rookie guard Evan Fournier was out of the rotation almost all season but now is starting. Center Kosta Koufos started 81 regular-season games but not Games 3 and 4 when he totaled two points in 25 combined minutes. Fellow center JaVale McGee also has been mostly invisible the past three games. Karl is essentially trying to beat the Warriors at their own small-ball game, and it's not working.
Warriors at Nuggets Game 5 NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
At WagerWeb, Denver is a 7.5-point favorite with the total at 213.5. The Warriors were 42-39-1 ATS this season (19-21-1 on road) and 47-34-1 “over/under” (25-16 on road). It has covered all four games in this series with the last three going over. Denver was 49-32-1 ATS this season (28-13 at home) and 46-35-1 O/U (20-21 at home).
The Warriors are 5-0 ATS in their past five after allowing at least 100 points in their previous game. Golden State is 4-0 ATS after scoring at least 100 in their previous game. The Nuggets are 1-5 ATS in their past six following an ATS loss and when scoring 100 points or more in their previous game. The over is 7-1 in Golden State's past eight Tuesday games. The over is 7-1 in Denver's past eight games. The over is 5-1 in the past six meetings. The home team has covered five of the past seven.
Warriors at Nuggets game 5 Picks and Betting Predictions
The Nuggets won at least three straight games eight times during the regular season, and they are certainly capable of doing so here. Eight teams in NBA history have rallied to win a playoff series after trailing 3-1. Six of those started the comeback by in Game 5 on their home court.
Ty Lawson has been terrific the past two games for Denver, but he's not getting enough help. Clearly the Nuggets miss injured second-leading scorer Danilo Gallinari as well as Faried's usual explosiveness. Golden State isn't a great defensive team but has forced 41 turnovers in the past two games. Denver also had 14 assists in Game 4; it had less than 15 in just two regular-season games.
With all that said, I do believe Denver wins this game (-370 on moneyline). But the Nuggets have given no indication of being able to cover that big of a spread. The altitude doesn't come into play as much in a playoff series like this compared to a regular-season game because the visiting team can take a few days to get used to it. So take the Warriors and the over (Golden State has scored at least 31 points in eight of the 16 quarters so far).
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