How the Warriors can beat the Nuggets with little or no Steph Curry in series

The Warriors dare, not by choice, to go where they have only gone once before, into the off-season without knowing when or if Stephen Curry will be available.

Although they managed under those circumstances four years ago to exclude the San Antonio Spurs in five games while Curry watched from the sidelines recover from a sprained left knee, it will be significantly harder to beat the Denver Nuggets in 2022.

Still, it is definitely within the reach of the Golden States.

Curry’s absence – he is uncertain for Game 1 on Saturday – naturally narrows the overall talent gap, but Nugget’s big man Nikola Jokic, who is likely to repeat himself as the league’s MVP, enters the series as the best available player. After The Joker, however, the Warriors run deeper and have more weapons.

That makes the Warriors the better team on paper, and that’s why they’re favored.

It is not their surest path to victory.

It would be their skills with small things, correctable factors that they had trouble correcting in the second half of the regular season. Basically, like blocking out, taking care of the ball and getting back in defense in the transition. Stay focused, as in studying and maintaining information about the habits of Denver staff.

In general, Warriors can be successful if they understand the concept of the playoffs as a different game. One where every possession, attack, and defense matters.

“A big part of game planning is messages about what the playoffs are really about,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Tuesday. “And how to approach things and deal with them.”

Even without scoring aces Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., neither of whom are expected to appear in the series, these Nuggets are better than Spurs in 2018. Tim Duncan retired. Manu Ginobili was 40, Tony Parker was 35 and both were backups. The closest, No. 7 seed Spurs were to Jokić was LaMarcus Aldridge, never an MVP candidate.

The Warriors, on the other hand, are less impressive now than then, when they won 58 games and were No. 2 in the West.

When Andre Iguodala started in Curry’s place, backed by Quinn Cook, the Warriors got what they needed on point guard, while having a crucial advantage elsewhere with the likes of Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and the center combination of JaVale McGee and David West. Spurs, who went from one era to the next, were ripe for “gentleman’s sweep,” and that was the result.

Succeeding this time around, where Curry may be put on the sidelines in one or more fights with a bone blue mark and sprain in his left foot, is about Klay being Klay, as the Warriors get production from Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole, where the former has five matches with playoff experience and the latter has none – but an innate comfort with great moments. It’s about Gary Payton II disrupting the Denver attack while Iguodala separates their defenses.

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It all starts, however, with the Warriors being the team with the fewest – the fewest turnovers, the fewest errors, the fewest defensive errors. These are basic things, but without losing them.

“The biggest thing for us is that we can not give up the easy stuff,” Kerr said. “One could see in the regular season that there were plenty of back cuts for layups; we have to remove them. We can not have the walk on the floor after a timeout and Jokic grabs the ball and throws a full court pass to a layup where we are not paying attention. We have to be really, really sharp. ”

The problem with that is that the Warriors have not had many sharp fights since the first week of January. They have had sharp neighborhoods. Sharp halves.

It’s a big leap to go from sharp moments to a sharp series of games.

This is where the veterans come into the picture. Kevon Looney, Draymond, Klay and Andre have played a total of 458 post-season games. They know about the increased intensity and importance of structure and timing. They know the playoffs, just as they know their own pillows.

“We have to sharpen games,” Looney said. “And pay attention to detail.”

If they do, they will succeed. Because the rest of what they need falls into place.

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