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Warriors outlast Nuggets in battle of shorthanded squads
The NBA regular season is a meatgrinder.
The Golden State Warriors got a gritty 113-102 win last night over the Denver Nuggets.
Shout out to both ballclubs for putting on such an entertaining show despite suffering heavy injuries to their depth chart. Denver was missing Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., two integral pieces to their championship hopes. Golden State didn’t have Draymond Green, James Wiseman, Andre Iguodala, and Gary Payton II.
But injuries have simply been the story of this season for many clubs yearning to squeeze through a slim title window. WHO CAN SURVIVE THE GAUNTLET?!
For example, the Phoenix Suns have an NBA best record of 53-13 and have dominated the regular season. For many they are the sure favorite to win the West.
And yet one of their maaajor issues of concern is that their veteran leader Chris Paul is on the shelf for some time with a major thumb injury. I did some quick googling to figure out when he’s coming back and here’s what I found via The Line:
Chris Paul suffered an avulsion fracture in a Feb. 16 Phoenix victory over the Houston Rockets. So how long will the thumb injury keep him out and when will Chris Paul be back and return to the Suns? ESPN originally reported that Paul would be out 6-8 weeks with the thumb injury, so here is a time table with some potential return dates and opponents.
6 Weeks: April 3 at Thunder, April 5 vs. Lakers, April 6 at Clippers, April 8 at Jazz
7 Weeks: April 10 vs. Kings
8 Weeks: NBA Playoffs begin
9 Weeks: NBA Playoffs underway
Hmmmm interesting, he’ll miss basically the rest of the regular season eh? And did you know that the Warriors who have never been anywhere near full strength this season currently hold a 2-1 advantage in the season series between the two division rivals?
The Utah Jazz lost a Joe Ingles to a season ending ACL injury before trading him away to the Blazers. His glue-guy factor was off the charts he did all the little things on both ends of the ball to keep Utah’s well oiled (regular season) machine humming.
And then you have the two L.A. ballclubs scrapping it out in range of the play-in tournament. The Clippers are currently the 8th seed with a 35-33 record, but their future is murky without their stars Kawhi Leonard (out with an ACL injury from last postseason) and Paul George who has been out since the holidays with a bad elbow. With those two guys in the fold, the Clips are on a short list of contenders. Without them, they won’t get far in the playoffs. Per the L.A. Times:
Leonard is recovering from knee surgery, George is working his way back from a damaged elbow ligament, and coach Tyronn Lue can’t, or won’t, offer timetables for either of their returns.
“I’m tired of hearing that s—,” Lue said Wednesday after he was asked for an update on Leonard and George. “When they are playing, I’ll let y’all know. I’m tired about talking about them every day.”
By the way, Golden State has won three out of four matchups against the Clips this season.
And then there’s those fascinating Lakers, who are in the 9th spot in the West with a 28-37 record. Star big man Anthony Davis has only played 37 games this season, and his teammates miss his versatility and defensive prowess. Still, I’d think LeBron James and Russell Westbrook would have found some chemistry right now to at least have the team playing .500 ball.
For as much as Warriors fans were panicking about GSW not having enough big men on the depth chart and fretting over not having Green and Wiseman, the franchise is still primed for a top-3 seed. The Lakers lost Davis and have looked terrible. Well, except for when Bron dropped 56 on our head the other night.
BUT if AD is back in the fold by the postseason, the Lakers are suddenly a team to be concerned about. That’s just too much talent to write off, right? By the way the Warriors hold a 2-1 season series advantage over the Lakers this year.
Meanwhile Wiseman’s already getting close to making his season debut for Golden State after getting in some work last night with the Santa Cruz Sea Dubs. And Dray’s return is next week, baby!