DENVER NUGGETS (57-25) vs. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (47-35) ...  
Schedule: April 20, April 23, April 26, April 28, April 30, May 2, May 4 / Denver won the regular season series 3-1

KEYS

FOR DENVER:

- Tempo. The Nuggets are the fastest squad in the NBA and have an ability to create 3-on-2 fast breaks after being scored on. Ty Lawson is a blur and is the most important player on this team because of the constant pressure he applies. Although the Warriors are up-tempo as well, it does not matter to the Nuggets. They are relentless and will go on a 10-0 run at the blink of an eye.

- Paint scoring. George Karl realizes the Nuggets have no post game, but also understands they can't win if they have low paint production. So he uses Andre Iguodala and Andre Miller to create opportunities in the paint, which consistently will lead to dunks for Kenneth Faried, JaVale McGee and Kosta Koufos. The Warriors will have an advantage if games turn into a perimeter shooting contest.

- Perimeter defense. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are nightmares to guard and so expect Lawson to be a target every game. The Nuggets must provide a ton of help for the diminutive guard because Curry can score points in bunches. Iguodala will guard both Curry and Thompson. Expect Corey Brewer to do the same.

- The Nuggets will definitely play on experience, but it better apply at home where they are seemingly unbeatable. The abyss that awaits them in Oakland is unmatched come playoff time. The Warriors' home crowd during the playoffs is the best I have ever seen. Leadership will be needed if you are a Denver Nugget.

FOR GOLDEN STATE:

- Curry and Thompson. These two have to shoot the ball extremely well to win the series and are highly capable of accomplishing that feat. When they are on, it becomes a clinic that would make any shooter proud.

- Transition defense. The Warriors are the one team capable of negating Denver's fast break and that's why this was the best matchup for them.  Andrew Bogut is a tremendous defensive wall that could be the difference in the series if he stays out of foul trouble and plays solid minutes. He and David Lee alone could outrebound the entire Nugget team.

- Harrison Barnes. The world is waiting and maybe this is the stage he uses to finally explode into the player everyone is expecting him to become.

- Hang around. The Warriors have big shot makers in Curry, Thompson and Jarrett Jack and they have one of the best offensive rebounders in Lee. It's a nightmare scenario for Karl. The last thing he wants is the Warriors getting second and third chances down the stretch to secure or win games in the series.

STATISTICS
SEASON
DEN GSW
106.1 Points scored 101.2
101.1 Points allowed 100.3
47.8 FG% 45.8
34.3 3P FG% 40.3
70.1 FT% 79.0
45.0 Rebounds 45.0
24.4 Assists 22.5
6.5 Blocks 4.2
9.3 Steals 6.9
153 Accumulated playoff games 167
HEAD-TO-HEAD
DEN GSW
107.5 Points scored 100.8
12.3 Turnovers 15.5
44.2 FG% 45.9
22.8 3P FG% 44.0
67.6 FT% 71.0
47.0 Rebounds 45.3
25.8 Assists 25.5
6.3 Blocks 5.0
9.5 Steals 8.0
MATCHUPS
PG SG SF PF C BENCH
Ty LawsonStephen Curry Andre IguodalaKlay Thompson Wilson ChandlerHarrison Barnes Kenneth FariedDavid Lee Kosta KoufosAndrew Bogut Andre MillerJarrett Jack
PROJECTION: NUGGETS IN SIX.