Warriors-Nuggets: What to watch for

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Warriors-Nuggets: What to watch for

Programming note: Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. today with Warriors Pregame Live on Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area with host Greg Papa, Garry St. Jean and NBA Insider Matt Steinmetz.

After consecutive losses, the Warriors (8-14) are in need ofa pick-me-up and nothing would serve that purpose better than a road winagainst a good team.That would be the Denver Nuggets, who have struggled latelybut are still 15-11. The Nuggets boast a great deal of depth and right now theyneed it. Theyre banged-up and are missing Danilo Gallinari. Also, startingcenter Timofey Mozgov and key bench player Corey Brewer missed Wednesdays gameagainst Dallas because of a sprained left ankle and personal reasons,respectively.Here are some things to watch for:
End-game situations: Its no secret theWarriors have struggled in the last two minutes of games this year, with MontaEllis failing more often than not when it comes to making game-winning playsand shots.RELATED: Steinmetz -- Crunch time stats for Warriors players
In the Warriors loss to the Thunder on Tuesday, Ellis had apotential 3-point shot to win it with five seconds remaining, but the shotmissed. Afterward Warriors coach Mark Jackson said hed take that that shotall day, meaning he had no problem with Ellis shot selection.Maybe not, but the Warriors are likely going to findthemselves in that situation again and again and again and they need to getbetter when theyre in it.Center trouble: The Warriors seem to be gettingless and less out of center Andris Biedrins. He is averaging 2.6 points and 4.7rebounds per game, and against the Thunder on Tuesday he played 14 minutes,scored zero points, grabbed zero rebounds and committed five personalfouls.Jackson continues to maintain hes not thinking of makingchanges to the starting lineup and, in fairness to Jackson he doesnt havemany options at center but push is coming to shove when it comes to thenon-production at five.Ellis vs. Afflalo: Monta Ellis is comingoff a 48-point game and is one of the most difficult matchups at the shootingguard position. Arron Afflalo is one of the best defenders at the two spot inthe league.The goal for Afflalo isnt to shut down Ellis, its doubtfulthat can be done. But Afflalo clearly would like to turn Ellis into a volumeshooter.Nene-Koufos tandem: The Warriors did morethan hold their own on the glass against the Thunder, but that certainly hasntbeen the norm this season. Too often the Warriors have been dominated on theinterior and theyll have to guard against that against Denver.Kosta Koufos is a big-bodied 7-footer and Nene is anotherbig presence at the four position. If the Warriors dont get anything out ofBiedrins, and Jackson is forced to go in another direction likely with EkpeUdoh theyre going to have to gang-rebound to hang in on the glass.

Warriors All-Stars combine for 56 points, West wins

Warriors All-Stars combine for 56 points, West wins

BOX SCORE

NEW ORLEANS — Anthony Davis had an All-Star Game for the record books.

And on a night when Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant provided a glimpse of the past, Giannis Antetokounmpo showed he's clearly part of the future and a midcourt lob attempt from James Harden even went in, Davis absolutely stole the show.

He scored 52 points, 10 more than Wilt Chamberlain's All-Star record that had stood for 55 years, and the Western Conference beat the Eastern Conference 192-182 on Sunday night — the highest-scoring game in league history.

Davis made 26 shots and took 39, both of those also All-Star records. He even outdid Westbrook, who had 41 points in just 20 minutes — which ordinarily would have been enough to merit him what would have been a third straight MVP award.

Not this time. It was Davis hoisting the trophy, to the delight of his New Orleans fans.

"It was a lot of fun," Davis said. "My teammates did a great job of looking for me."

Durant had a triple-double with 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Stephen Curry added 21 points for the West — where a subplot emerged as DeMarcus Cousins played only two minutes, prompting some speculation that a trade sending him out of Sacramento might be looming.

Antetokounmpo had 30 points for the East, with 12 dunks in his night. LeBron James scored 23 points to become the first All-Star to eclipse 300 in a career, Kyrie Irving had 22 points and 14 assists, and Isaiah Thomas scored 20 for the East.

Davis became the story that overshadowed The Story coming into this game, that being the Durant-Westbrook whatever.

And if there is any animus remaining between Durant and Westbrook, it was hidden. They passed each other the ball and slapped hands in the pregame layup line, and not long after Westbrook checked into the game the former Oklahoma City teammates provided one of the game's top highlights — a give-and-go, capped by Durant lobbing the ball to set Westbrook up for a dunk.

"OH MY GOD! WHAT JUST HAPPENED?" Curry shouted on the West bench, which moments later broke into celebration. Players jumped and threw hands skyward, Curry tossing a cupful of water onto a smiling Durant amid it all.

Draymond Green called the play "cute," and Westbrook and Durant seemed happy with it as well.

"It was a nice give-and-go, man," Westbrook said. "Good give-and-go. Made a good pass. I barely got over the rim, but it was a nice give-and-go."

Added Durant: "It was a great basketball play. He was open so I threw him the lob. He can jump really high so yeah, good play."

Some fans were shouting "De-Fense!" in the fourth quarter. West center DeAndre Jordan heard them, rising from his seat on the West bench to yell "No, no, no" back in their direction.

If those fans were serious, they were disappointed.

Westbrook scored 12 points — all on 3s — in a 63-second span late in the third quarter, coming off the bench and firing over and over and over again. And then he opened the fourth quarter with another 3, giving him 34 points in just under 14 minutes played to that point.

It looked like he was a cinch for MVP honors, until Davis scored 20 points in the fourth.

TIP-INS

East: Irving also led the East in rebounds with seven. ... Kyle Lowry scored 19 points and DeMar DeRozan added 16. ... No East player logged more than 24 minutes.

West: Curry took cover in the third quarter, comically hitting the deck face-first as Antetokounmpo went in for yet another dunk. So later in the quarter, Antetokounmpo went over Curry for a rebound slam — one that left Curry staring at the scoreboard for a replay. ... Kawhi Leonard had a steal and dunk in the opening minute, a defensive display that left West coach Steve Kerr in hysterics.

EMBIID CLOSE

Joel Embiid wanted to be in the All-Star Game, and he was close — literally and figuratively.

The Philadelphia star sat on the edge of the baseline next to the West bench, meaning he got to greet players throughout the night and share a few words with some at halftime.

CELEB WATCH

A huge roar greeted Jon Batiste, who performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" pregame, when he started the song.

It wasn't for him.

That happened to be the moment when John Legend — the halftime performer — and Chrissy Teigen were shown at their sideline seats on the video screens around the arena. And a louder cheer came not long afterward when Beyonce and Jay Z got on-screen.

Among the other celebs in the seats: Guy Fieri, Dave Chappelle, Julius Erving, Alonzo Mourning, Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson and The Roots.

UP NEXT

The next All-Star Game is Feb. 18, 2018, in Los Angeles, which will host for a record sixth time.

Thompson eliminated in first round of All-Star 3-point contest

Thompson eliminated in first round of All-Star 3-point contest

Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson will not repeat as the NBA All-Star Game's 3-point shootout champion. 

In need of 19 points, Thompson managed only 18 -- that allowed Kemba Walker to advance into the semifinals. 

Houston's Eric Gordon had the high score of the first round. He went on to win the championship -- besting Kyrie Irving.

Thompson has made 182 3-pointers this season which ranks him fifth in the league.