The Golden State Warriors can ill-afford another loss if they hope to keep their fading playoff hopes alive.
They’ll look to snap a three-game losing streak as they host the Western Conference-worst Denver Nuggets at the Arena in Oakland.
“We’re paid to play 82 games and to practice during that time to be professionals,” Golden State coach Eric Musselman said. “Practices have not been good. It’s something we still have time to address.”
The Warriors slipped four games behind Phoenix in the hunt for the final playoff spot in the West with Friday’s 122-100 loss to Portland. With only six games to play, Golden State is also trying to finish at .500 for the first time since 1993-94.
“We have to win every game for the rest of the year to try to make the playoffs, and we come out and get beat by 20 at home—that’s embarrassing,” said Warriors forward Troy Murphy.
The Nuggets, who have lost three of four, are coming off an 83-75 setback to the New York Knicks on Wednesday. Former Knick Marcus Camby finished with 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting and six rebounds for Denver.
“Marcus was very good tonight. He was very excited about playing his old team,” said Juwan Howard, who led Denver with 20 points and 14 rebounds.
Perhaps the three-day layoff will do the Nuggets some good.
“I think we are a tired basketball team right now, mentally and physically,” Denver coach Jeff Bzdelik said. “It’s not an excuse. It is just that we are.”
STANDINGS: Nuggets - 7th place, 40 GB, Midwest Division. Warriors - 6th place, 18 1/2 GB, Pacific Division.
PROBABLE STARTERS: Nuggets - F Howard, F Nikoloz Tskitishvili, C Nene Hilario, G Junior Harrington, G Rodney White. Warriors - F Murphy, F Antawn Jamison, C Erick Dampier, G Richardson, G Gilbert Arenas.
TEAM LEADERS: Nuggets - Howard, 18.5 ppg and 7.7 rpg; Harrington, 3.4 apg. Warriors - Jamison, 22 ppg; Murphy, 10.2 rpg; Arenas, 6.1 apg.
SEASON SERIES: Warriors, 2-0.
LAST MEETING: Feb. 24; Warriors, 94-89. At Denver, Arenas scored 19 points and the Warriors got 56 points from their bench in handing the Nuggets their ninth straight loss. Howard led Denver with 29 points.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Nuggets - 4-34 on the road; Warriors - 22-15 at home.
INJURIES: Nuggets - F Ryan Bowen (abdomen); G Adam Harrington (knee).
Warriors - F Chris Mills (Achilles’).