Warriors vs. Nuggets Game 6 preview
The atmosphere at Oracle Arena should be electric Thursday as the Warriors look to finish off the Nuggets. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
Despite a bitter and difficult Game 5 loss to the Denver Nuggets, the big picture remains very bright for the Warriors. What more could a No. 6 seed ask for than a chance to close out their first-round series in six games on their home court?
That is the advantageous position the Warriors will be in come Thursday night at Oracle Arena – where 20,000 of the team’s closest friends will try to make it as brutal on the visiting squad as possible.
The Nuggets staved off elimination in Denver on Tuesday night with a hard-fought 107-100 victory over the Warriors. But coach Mark Jackson, guard Stephen Curry and many of team’s ultra-loyal fan base are maintaining the game went beyond “hard fought” and entered into the realm of “dirty.”
Jackson said the Nuggets sent “hitmen,” to try to injury Curry, clearly a reference to Kenneth Faried sticking his leg out in apparent attempt to trip Curry and perhaps affect his troublesome ankles.
But truth be told, both teams have employed “questionable physicality,” to a certain degree and it has ushered in an extra layer of passion and emotion.
Which is what the playoffs are all about, right?
Curry had been running circles around the Nuggets for three consecutive games. The only strategy left for Denver was to up the contact and aggressiveness level with him, and that’s what they did.
That approach led to an escalation of chippiness during the game and accusations after it. That’s a nice backdrop for Thursday’s Game 6, but it will likely have little to do with how the game plays out.
For the Warriors to finish this series out, they need to get back to what worked from them in Games 2, 3 and 4, quite frankly. They need to get back to moving the ball, packing in the lane, protecting the basket and knocking down 3-pointers.
They figure to have a better chance to do that with a raucous Oracle Arena crowd behind them. For what it’s worth, the Warriors are 6-1 in their past seven playoff games in Oakland.
During the “We Believe” postseason of 2007, the Warriors returned to Oracle Arena for a Game 6 in the first round against the Dallas Mavericks.
They closed out the Mavericks that night amid one of the craziest environments in NBA history – a crowd on its feet for 48 minutes and vocal chords in full throat for the game’s entirety.
That win was the highlight of a memorable season Golden State.
The same situation is in front of the Warriors on Thursday. Let’s see if they can make another memory.