Nuggets vs. Warriors: What to watch for


Nuggets vs. Warriors: What to watch for

Programming note: Nuggets-Warriors coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Warriors Pregame Live on CSN Bay Area. Stick around after the final horn for Warriors Postgame Live!

The Warriors are coming off their most lopsided loss of the season a 101-77 defeat to the Lakers in L.A. They struggled in just about every phase of the game, but none more than shooting. As a team the Warriors shot 33.7 percent from the field, with both their inside and outside games failing them.The Nuggets have rebounded from an 0-3 start to win three in a row, and theyre coming to Oracle Arena on Saturday coming off a 104-84 blowout win over Utah in Denver.Here are some things to watch for in Saturday nights game:Depth on depth: The Warriors depth is certainly improved this year with Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry coming off their bench. But the Nuggets also have a solid bench, and they rely on it heavily.Andre Miller, Corey Brewer and JaVale McGee give the Nuggets plenty of weapons off the bench, and thats important on a night like Saturday when both teams are playing their second of back-to-back games.Find Faried: Kenneth Faried is a relentless rebounder and high-energy player and he had a career game against the Warriors a season ago.Faried had 27 points on 12-for-18 shooting and 17 rebounds in the Nuggets 123-84 victory over the Warriors last April. Faried, in his second year, might be a touch undersized for the power forward position, but his activity and effort mitigate any kind of size disadvantage.Warriors power forward David Lee is going to have to keep Faried off the offensive glass and occupy him fully at the offensive end.Curry vs. Felton: Stephen Curry and Ty Lawson are the long-term point guards for the Warriors and Nuggets, respectively. This offseason, the Warriors gave Curry four-year, 44 million contract, while the Nuggets gave Lawson a four-year, 48 million deal.BUCHER: Why'd they do it?
While Curry and Lawson are certainly different players, there is not much that separates them talent-wise. You could probably find just as many people who prefer Lawson over Curry as prefer Curry over Lawson.Last season Lawson averaged 16.4 points and 6.6 assists per game, while shooting 48.8 percent from the floor. Curry is certainly a better shooter than Lawson, but Lawson makes up that percentage-wise by getting to the bucket more.With Curry back at 100 percent after an ankle injury a year ago, this should be a good matchup to watch.

Durant's future with the Warriors: 'I’m just in it for the long haul'

Durant's future with the Warriors: 'I’m just in it for the long haul'

With the salary cap rising , Kevin Durant is expected to opt out of the second-year of his two-year contract with Golden State and become a free agent again this summer.

But don't plan on him signing with another team.

“I’m liking it here,” Durant told Sam Amick of USA Today Sports at the Warriors' groundbreaking ceremony. “I’m liking everything that’s going on. I know what my contract says, but I didn’t plan on coming here for just a year. I’m in it right now, and I’m also just focusing on day by day.

“I know it’s cliché, and you hear that all the time, but I’m seriously just not thinking about it because I’m like – I’m just in it for the long haul.”

[RELATED: Durant on Chase Center: 'It'll be fun playing in there']

Warriors owner and CEO Joe Lacob is not concerned about losing Durant.

He also fully anticipates re-signing free-agent-to-be Stephen Curry.

“I have no angst whatsoever," Lacob told Amick. "I totally am positive (that) I think those guys are going to sign. They’re both free agents. They have a right to do whatever they want. They’ve earned it, and I respect that.

"If they don’t sign with us for some reason, then shame on me and us. I take responsibility for that. But I don’t see that happening.”

Durant building 'Thunder Stopper' reputation after 40-point effort

Durant building 'Thunder Stopper' reputation after 40-point effort

OAKLAND -- Kevin Durant, Thunder Stopper? With a second consecutive magnificent performance in decisive wins over his former Oklahoma City teammates, Durant may be adding a nickname.

Durant on Wednesday night posted his first 40-point game as a Warrior, carrying them to a 121-100 win over the Thunder at Oracle Arena.

He has scored 79 points in two games against OKC, taking only 40 shots to ring up such an impressive total. He was 13-of-16 Wednesday night and 15-of-24 in scoring 39 points in a 122-96 win on Nov. 3 at Oracle.

Though Durant downplayed his production, his coach and teammates were not surprised he has been so good against the team with which he spent nine seasons.

“It’s still kind of fresh, but we can’t deny the history of him with OKC,” Stephen Curry said.

“Every player in the NBA wants to play well against his old team,” coach Steve Kerr said. “For most guys, you feel that extra juice when you play against a team that you played on.”

Durant not only finished with a season-high point total but also added a team-best 12 rebounds, along with four assists and three blocks. He practically stamped his signature on the game.

“My teammates are doing a good job of freeing me up,” said Durant, who drilled 5-of-7 from beyond the arc. “I put the work in and prepared myself for every game. I just happened to knock them down.”

It’s not just that Durant was facing his former team, though. He was, once again, on opposite sides from longtime teammate and erstwhile friend Russell Westbrook. The two have not had much to say to each other since Durant’s decision last July to leave OKC and sign with the Warriors.

Little changed Wednesday night, though the two had a brief exchange in the second half, as Durant headed to the line to shoot a pair of free throws.

Asked if the two have talked, Westbrook said, “Nah,” despite the brief dialogue.

Durant carefully avoided saying anything remotely inflammatory about Westbrook or any of his former teammates.

“It’s good to see everybody,” he said. “Once the ball is tipped, you’re just playing. You’re just hooping. It’s as simple as that. But it’s definitely good to see everybody.”

Durant’s lone lowlight came when he blew a dunk with 1:45 left in the first half, taking flight about 10 feet from the basket and slamming the ball off the back of the rim and nearly to halfcourt.

“I thought I made it,” Durant said, “and then I heard the crowd.

“I was kind of upset. I tried to dunk it too hard, I think. I might have jumped from a little too far out. As I was close to the rim, I felt myself coming down a little earlier than usual.

“But, yeah, I should have made that one. That would have brought the crowd to its feet. But, hopefully, I’ll get another opportunity.”

The crowd was on its feet plenty, as was the case during Durant’s previous display against OKC. The Thunder won’t be back to Oakland this season.

Durant will have another chance to go after his former team and burnish his credentials as a Thunder Stopper when the teams meet on Feb. 11 in Oklahoma City.