Warriors-Nuggets Preview

The Associated Press

A loss to the Golden State Warriors this past weekend was the tipping point for Denver Nuggets guard Ty Lawson's frustrations.

Lawson and his teammates, though, don't have to wait too long for their chance at redemption.

With Danilo Gallinari expected to return from injury, the Nuggets will seek their longest home win streak in three months when they face the Warriors again Monday night.

Denver (30-26) appeared to have a couple of prime opportunities to bolster their position in the Western Conference's top eight this past week with two road games against struggling clubs. The Nuggets, though, fell 94-92 to New Orleans on Wednesday and lost 112-97 to Golden State on Saturday after topping Phoenix the night before.

The most recent defeat gnawed at Lawson, who had a team-best 21 points and six assists. The Warriors (22-33) had lost 12 of 15 before that game and have been playing without starting point guard Stephen Curry, who is dealing with a sprained right ankle.

"It's getting ridiculous at this point," Lawson said. "We're losing to teams we should never ... that we shouldn't lose to, especially with the magnitude of what's going on in the season with the playoff run and where we're at. We can't be losing these games."

Brandon Rush had 20 points off the bench to lead seven Golden State players in double figures.

"It's very satisfying knowing that a team came in with something to play for, with payback on their mind, and we found a way to put together 48 minutes of basketball," coach Mark Jackson said.

The Nuggets will try to bounce back while earning a third straight win at the Pepsi Center for the first time since starting 4-0 there this season. Golden State has lost five of six on the road but prevailed 109-101 behind a season-high 36 points from Curry in its most recent visit to Denver on Feb. 9.

That win, just the second in 15 games there for the Warriors, ended a six-game skid at the Pepsi Center.

While Golden State is not expected to have Curry available, Denver might get back one of its top scorers for this game. Gallinari, averaging 15.2 points, has missed the past 10 contests because of a fractured left thumb.

The status of guard Wilson Chandler, meanwhile, remains unknown because of a strained groin that's sidelined him four games. Chandler, averaging 10.7 points, is expected to meet with doctors Monday.

The Nuggets will try to overcome his absence while avoiding a season sweep to Golden State for the first time since 2002-03, which was also the last time they had lost a season series to the Warriors prior to 2011-12.

Arron Afflalo will try to help his team salvage the series finale by duplicating his most recent performance at the Pepsi Center against the Warriors. He had a team-leading 26 points in the February defeat and is averaging 20.0 over the last 10 overall games.

Golden State's David Lee had topped 20 points in career-high seven consecutive games before scoring 17 in Saturday's victory. He's averaging 25.1 points over the last eight contests.

What to Read Next