The Warriors will discover that facing the widely praised Rookie of the Year is one thing, battling with the quietest MVP candidate in the NBA quite another.
After containing Mavericks rookie Luke Doncic well enough to win in Dallas on Sunday, the Warriors run into the Nuggets, who lead the Western Conference, and their big man Nikola Jokic on Tuesday in Denver.
Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins with Warriors Pregame at 5 o'clock, with tipoff at Pepsi Center scheduled for 6:10.
Expect the Warriors to send their rotation of undersized big men – Kevon Looney, Draymond Green, Jonas Jerebko, Jordan Bell – as well as occasional double-teams to deal with Jokic, a 7-footer who is averaging 19.7 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. His five triple-doubles are more than all other centers combined.
The Warriors (29-14) have won four straight, but lately have not fared well in Denver, losing three of their last four. They took a 100-98 loss on Oct. 21.
Denver (29-13) is an NBA-best 18-3 at home and has won 12 in a row at Pepsi Center, the last home loss coming on Nov. 13 against Houston.
F – Kevin Durant F – Draymond Green C – Kevon Looney G – Klay Thompson G – Stephen Curry
F – Torrey Craig F – Paul Millsap C – Nikola Jokic G – Malik Beasley G – Jamal Murray
Warriors: C DeMarcus Cousins (L Achilles' tendon rehab) and C Damian Jones (L pectoral muscle surgery) are listed as out,
Nuggets: G Gary Harris (L hamstring tightness) and F Trey Lyles (R wrist sprain) are listed as questionable. F Michael Porter (back surgery), G Isaiah Thomas (R hip surgery) and F Jarred Vanderbilt (R foot surgery) are listed as out.
Warriors: Coach Steve Kerr continues to tinker with rotations, giving Curry and Durant more shared court time in the last two games. It has paid off. Expect more adjustments when DeMarcus Cousins is activated on Friday.. . . Reserve PG Quinn Cook, who is shooting well but defending poorly, received his eighth DNP-CD of the season in the win at Dallas. He could get playing time against the Nuggets. . . After a bit of a slump during the holidays, F Alfonzo McKinnie has shot 56.3 percent (44.4 percent from deep) over his last five games.. . . Jokic likely will be challenged with penetration in an effort to draw fouls. He is a poor rim protector.. . . The Warriors, who return home immediately after the game to face the Pelicans on Wednesday at Oracle Arena, have split their first two road-home back-to-backs this season.
Nuggets: Jokic and Murray have been constants, neither missing a game. Jokic leads the team in points, rebounds, assists, and steals.. . . SF Will Barton, who opened the season as a starter, is on restricted minutes after returning Saturday from a 38-game absence with R hip/core muscle surgery.. . . G Monte Morris has been productive off the bench, shooting team-best 43.2 percent from deep and scoring in double figures in 13 of his last 19 games.. . . In the stunning loss at Phoenix on Saturday, the Suns, behind Kelly Oubre Jr, were decisive winners in the battle of the benches.. . . Denver has yet to have its full roster, as Thomas and Porter have been sidelined all season. Harris has missed 15 with hip and hamstring injuries and Millsap returned Dec. 29 after an eight-game absence.
Officials: Zach Zarba (chief), Kevin Cutler, Jonathan Sterling