The Nuggets and Warriors each will be looking to win their third straight when they play Friday at Oracle Arena in Oakland to start a home-and-home series.
Only Phoenix averages more points than Golden State (108.1) and Denver (106.8). Their high-scoring output is no different than in 2006-07, when the Warriors’ 106.6 points per game and the Nuggets’ 105.4 ppg also ranked second and third, respectively, trailing only the Suns.
The teams scored at an even higher pace when they faced each other. Denver won three of four in the series last year, outscoring Golden State by an average of 118.5 to 115.5. The Nuggets’ 140-129 home win over Golden State on Nov. 24, 2006, was their best offensive output of last season.
Denver (17-11) had its highest-scoring game of 2007-08 in its most recent win, 125-105 over Milwaukee on Wednesday. The Nuggets shot 54.7 percent from the field and blew out the Bucks behind Marcus Camby’s first triple-double in nine years as he had 10 points, 11 rebounds, 10 blocks.
Carmelo Anthony posted his fourth straight double-double and power forward Nene returned from injury with a solid effort.
“If we play like that, unselfish, getting the ball to the open man, we’ll win a lot of games and we’ll go far this season,” said Nene, who had 11 points and seven rebounds in his first game since tearing a ligament in his left thumb on Nov. 7.
Anthony, the reigning Western Conference player of the week, scored 29 against Milwaukee and has averaged 32.5 points and 12.5 rebounds in his past four games. Anthony, averaging 25.5 ppg and Allen Iverson at 26.3, are the highest-scoring duo in the NBA.
But according to Iverson, Camby is the key to Denver’s success.
“As he goes, we go,” Iverson said. “He takes up so much responsibility, he enables me to be one of the top guys in the league with steals because I can gamble a lot with Marcus back there and not pay for it.”
Anthony has averaged 26.4 points in 13 career games against Golden State. Iverson has scored 28.5 ppg in 17 games against the Warriors, and had 35 in his lone contest against them since being acquired from Philadelphia last season.
Golden State (17-12) returned home from its second five-game road trip of the season with a 105-101 win over Minnesota, highlighted by Monta Ellis’ career-high 35 points.
“He’s just getting better all the time, really fun to watch,” Warriors coach Don Nelson said of Ellis, who joined NBA out of high school in 2005. “It was a perfect game for him to gain some more maturity and be at the line under pressure.”
Ellis broke out last season by increasing his scoring average nearly 10 points per game to 16.5. He’s up to 17.3 this season and is one of only five guards in the league shooting above 50 percent from the floor.
The other member of the Warriors’ starting backcourt, Baron Davis, is putting together possibly his best season as a pro. He’s averaging 21.9 points to lead the team - the most he’s averaged since putting up 22.9 in 2003-04 with New Orleans - and he’s among the league leaders with 8.0 assists per contest.
Davis has scored 22.0 points in five games against the Nuggets since he was traded to Golden State during the 2004-05 season.
The Nuggets and Warriors will meet agains Sunday in Denver.