After an ugly loss in Southern California, the Golden State Warriors should be glad to get back on their home court.
The Warriors look to match their best home start in five years when they face the Denver Nuggets on Monday night.
Golden State (7-6) is 5-1 at home, and with a win Monday will match the home start of the 2006-07 club, the only edition of the Warriors to make the playoffs since 1993-94.
However, the Warriors have looked like a different team away from Oracle Arena. They have dropped five of seven and three straight on the road, including a 117-89 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night. Monta Ellis(notes), who is second in the NBA with 25.9 points per game, was held to a season-low five while shooting 2 of 10 from the field. Adding injury to insult, Ellis left the game with a hip injury in the third quarter.
He is expected to play Monday. Golden State may need him, as he’s averaging 31.0 points over his last three games against Denver (7-6).
“You have to move on again because you cannot hold onto it,” Warriors coach Keith Smart said. “We’ve got another game (Monday) night. We didn’t come out with the competitive edge that we needed to match them.”
Smart’s club may have an uphill climb to match Denver. The Nuggets have won six straight meetings in the series, averaging 126.7 points in those matchups. They scored 123 or more in all four games between the clubs in 2009-10.
The Nuggets could use that kind of consistency in their overall play this season. They have alternated losses with wins over their last six games, and are looking to record back-to-back victories for just the second time this season after defeating New Jersey 107-103 on Saturday night.
“We’re going to get it together. I have faith. It’s a long season,” Carmelo Anthony(notes), who had 28 points and eight rebounds, told the team’s official website. “The schedule has been tough on us so far, but it’s turning for us. We’ve got a stretch where we can win some games and break this open a little bit.”
The Nuggets are 18-5 versus the Warriors in games that Anthony has played.
Chauncey Billups(notes) probably didn’t enjoy Saturday’s win as much as Anthony. The point guard suffered a nose fracture, chipped tooth, and sprained right wrist during the game against the Nets. His status for Monday is unknown.
While the Nuggets may be without Billups, they could be getting one of their defensive specialists back.
Reserve big man Chris Andersen(notes), who has led the team in blocks the last two seasons, has yet to play in 2010-11. He made it through a full practice Sunday, though, and is likely to take the court versus the Warriors.
“My knee’s doing really well,” said Andersen, who has been recovering from offseason surgery to repair a partially-torn patella tendon. “I’m ecstatic about coming back. It’s been a long time waiting and I’m just trying to be optimistic and realistic at the same time.”