Warriors-Nuggets playoff preview: Game 1

Curry on postseason: 'You can tell it's different'

Warriors-Nuggets playoff preview: Game 1
April 19, 2013, 8:00 pm
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This year’s Warriors team is led by Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and David Lee – none of whom has ever played in an NBA postseason game.

The Warriors are heading back to the postseason for the first time since 2007, with a first-round matchup against the Denver Nuggets. The Warriors are a very different team than they were the last time they made the playoffs. Only one Warrior – center Andris Biedrins – was on the “We Believe” playoff team. Other than that, it’s all changed faces, and most of them are playoff first-timers.

How those first-timers handle the pressure of the playoffs will be a major theme of this series.

The 2007 team was experienced, led by two feisty, playoff-tested veterans: Baron Davis and Stephen Jackson.

This year’s team is led by Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and David Lee – none of whom has ever played in an NBA postseason game.

That inexperience will be Issue No. 1 when the Warriors and Nuggets tip-off Saturday afternoon at 2:30 in Denver. The Warriors (47-35) had a terrific regular season, but can they be successful in the playoffs? That’s what their fans want to know.

Only Andrew Bogut, of the starters, has ever played in the postseason and just five games at that. Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry have each played in just one playoff series apiece.

Rookie Harrison Barnes has started all season at small forward, and coach Mark Jackson hasn’t hesitated to use first-year players Festus Ezeli and Draymond Green. In other words, there are plenty of playoff newbies.

The Nuggets, on the other hand, have been to the playoffs before, only this time they’re going in as favorites. Denver finished the season 57-25, and they’ve won 23 consecutive games at the Pepsi Center.

What the Warriors will have to do first is figure out whether they’re going to have to tinker with their style of play. They’ve thrived this season with an uptempo style, heavily dependent on the 3-point shot – whether it be in their preferred transition or even in the halfcourt.

Conventional wisdom says that defensive play becomes a lot more physical in the playoffs, and if that’s the case, the Warriors’ perimeter players will have to adjust.

If more bumping and grinding is allowed, it wouldn’t seem to be in the Warriors’ favor. Curry, Thompson and Jack must not only be able to score for themselves, but they’ve also got to be efficient in getting the team into its offense.

Bottom line, they’ve got to limit turnovers.

It will be the playoff debut for a lot of Warriors on Saturday, and how those players respond should give a good indication of how this series could go.

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