NBA: Denver at Golden State

NBA: Denver at Golden State

Thursday's high stakes matchup between Denver and Golden State won't solve which team will win the last playoff sport in the Western Conference


Thursday's high stakes matchup between Denver and Golden State won't solve which team will win the last playoff sport in the Western Conference; however it will go a long way to deciding who gets in. Bet this big game at The host Warriors are a 5-point opening line favorite.

With only four games remaining, both the Nuggets and Warriors boast 47-31 straight up records, looking to take control and grab the upper hand.

"Two good teams who deserve to go to the playoffs are going to battle on Thursday night," Denver coach George Karl said of the Nuggets and Warriors. "When this thing all started evolving six or eight weeks ago, I remember circling the game with Golden State.

"We could get (to the playoffs) if we don't win. It could give us a big leg up if we do win." This is especially true for the Nuggets, who have won two of the three meetings and could take what amounts to a two game lead, by holding the tie-breaker with another victory.

The Nuggets are 16-23 on the road with a 19-20 against the spread record. It is almost impossible to get an accurate read on Denver in road uniforms, having swings of success and failure. One player that has shown his desire to play postseason basketball is Carmelo Anthony. The former Syracuse star ranks fourth in the league with 26.1 points per game, and is averaging 40.3 points per game, converting a staggering 68.1 percent of his shots from the field in his last three games. Anthony has averaged 32.3 PPG in his last three visits to Oakland. "It's a big game for us. Do I believe we have to win? No. But it's a must-win for us." he said. Denver is 5-2 ATS in last seven road games and 8-3 against the number with one day's rest.

Golden State has not won or lost three games in a row since early March and would love to put together three or four W's to close the season. Despite a fine record, the Warriors have all but abandoned the defensive end of the floor for playoff push. In their last 15 games, they have allowed an average of 111 PPG, raising league worst total to 108.3 PPG.

"It's hard to be disappointed when you win and you score 140 points, but we're going to have to start guarding people a lot better than we did tonight," coach Don Nelson said after Sacramento scored 132 points. "They have shot-makers, but it's hard to get a stop for us right now."

Golden State is already assured of its best record since the 1993-94 season, plays three of its last four at home including this contest. The Warriors' 26-12 home record (14-24 ATS) is the worst among West playoff contenders, but they have won three straight in Oakland. The Warriors are only 6-15 ATS in last 21 home contests.

Coach Nelson's squad should be a 4-6 point home favorite, with total in the 230's at Golden State is 5-11 ATS in their last 16 home games vs. a team with a losing road record and 8-17 ATS with a day off. Those preferring the Total will be tested in betting the Over which has been good six of last seven meetings.

TNT has the coverage starting at 8 Eastern.

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