The Denver Nuggets have one of the best home court advantages in the NBA, but the Golden State Warriors stole Game 2 in the Pepsi Center before returning to the Bay Area to take a 2-1 series lead. On Sunday night, Game 4 in ORACLE Arena gives the Nuggets the opportunity to return the favor by stealing their own road game.
So what will be the keys for the Nuggets to tie the series versus the Warriors putting themselves on deck for a first round victory?
Can Denver pick a poison?
The Nuggets have been giving up points in the paint and three-pointers. To be successful, they need to cut off one of those sources of Golden State's points. The best scoring team in the paint during the regular season, Denver allowed 52 points in the paint to their 54 in Game 3, making one of their usual advantages negligible. The Nuggets won the battle 50-44 in a Game 2 loss, and in their Game 1 win had more significant 52-40 advantage.
Stopping Golden State in that regard might be hard to do with a smaller lineup that Karl implemented in Game 3 -- Kenneth Faried, Wilson Chandler and Andre Iguodala made up the frontcourt. That said, the small lineup should allow the Nuggets to play better perimeter defense because it allows for more switches.
Golden State has shot 44.8 percent from three-point range in the series, and that accuracy must dip for Denver to pull out the series.
Who wins the turnover battle?
The Nuggets and Warriors have opened up their respective offenses through three games, and the Warriors have gotten caught up in the Nuggets' fast pace. They've handled it well. So far, they've shown that they have the horses to compete and win, but both squads have turned the ball over, especially in the last two games.
In Game 3, the Warriors coughed up the ball 23 times, resulting in 30 Denver points. They escaped 110-108, but that high turnover rate can't become a habit.
Will Carl Landry keep it up?
While the highlights and the success of Golden State has centered around its bevy of shooters in Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes, Landry has quietly averaged 14 points and been one of the most active offensive rebounding forces in the three games thus far. Especially because the Warriors lost starting power forward David Lee for the season, Landry's consistent efforts have allowed Golden State room for error.
In Game 3, Thompson's 3-for-10 shooting night and Golden State's loss of bench production with Jarrett Jack's move into the starting lineup wasn't enough to stop the Warriors from winning. Landry scored 19 points off the bench and grabbed four offensive rebounds.
Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
Odds: Denver opened as 1.5-point favorites.