Denver Nuggets vs. Golden State Warriors
Game 4 (2-1 GSW) — 9:30 p.m./TNT
In the late hours of Friday evening, basketball fans were seemingly in heaven. One of the most entertaining basketball games in this Playoffs was playing out in front of everyone at Oracle Arena.
Perhaps this was to be expected. In the first two games of the series, fans got a back-and-forth offensive display from two offensive-minded teams. First there was Denver running up and down the court with Golden State matching it each step of the way until finally Andre Miller broke the tie and won Game One. Then it was the Warriors putting on a stellar shooting display that left basketball fans breathless.
Game Three was much of the same with another game that went back and forth between these two teams with plenty of offense to attract the casual fan and plenty of key shot-making to make even die hards swoon.
Of all the first round series, this one has clearly been the most entertaining to watch. And that was to be expected with two teams that like to get up and down the court in transition and have plenty of shooters and high flyers to excite the eye.
What do these two teams do for an encore?
Game Four, like all the games in this series, will come down to defense. For as much as the offense is stealing all the headlines of late, the series will be won by whoever can get a stop first. Easier said than done with Stephen Curry making wild heaves and scoop shots that seem indefensible all while willingly and effective sharing the ball. Denver has struggled to corral Golden State's small lineup and now faces a must-win situation on the road to even the series back up.
It simply does not get better than this.
Other Storylines to Watch
-JaVale McGee and Andrew Bogut had a bit of a confrontation during Game Three where McGee alleges Bogut dared him to hit him. McGee, never the most level-headed player on the court, resisted the provocation from the Aussie center and kept playing. With the way this series has gone back and forth though, tempers might start getting a bit higher. Especially if defensive frustration begins to kick in.
-Jarrett Jack could very well be the difference in this series. Mark Jackson inserting him into the starting lineup has freed up space for others to operate because Jack is a great shooter and playmaker. More importantly, that playmaking ability has probably given Stephen Curry more space as Denver has been reluctant to double off of him. Jack, a free agent this summer, is making it pretty well known that he wants to stay in Golden State long term.
Tonight's Other Games
New York Knicks vs. Boston Celtics
Game 4 (NYK 3-0) — 1 p.m./ABC
Carmelo Anthony has been a scoring machine so far this postseason as expected. The NBA's leading scorer has been that way for most of his decade in the NBA. As Melo re-writes the narrative of his career through what is looking to be his second trip out of the first round, Anthony has locked out all the outside distraction. He is not listening to the media or reading any newspapers. A common retort among criticized star players, but one that has resulted in Anthony's best basketball.
Miami Heat vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Game 4 (MIA 3-0) — 3:30 p.m./ABC
Could Jim Boylan be coaching his final game with the Bucks today? The man who replaced Scott Skiles about halfway through the season has hit some hot water of his own. There were reports that he had not effectively communicated with guard J.J. Redick during the Playoffs, leaving the talented and experienced shooter on teh bench for most of Game Two. Boyland was more of Skiles' right-hand man anyway and it seems likely Milwaukee will move in another direction.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Game 4 (SAS 3-0) — 7 p.m./TNT
The Lakers have gone through plenty of injury trouble this postseason. Not only is Steve Blake and Steve Nash out now for Los Angeles, but Metta World Peace will also miss tonight's potentially decisive Game Four. The Lakers will be staving off elimination with a starting lineup that includes Darius Morris, Andrew Goudelock and possibly Devin Ebanks with Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol. For San Antonio? The only injury to worry about is a sprained ankle to Tiago Splitter that could keep him out 7-10 days.
Larry Drew interested in Sixers job?
It is no slam dunk that the Hawks will bring back head coach Larry Drew after his team's postseason run is completed. Drew is actually a coaching free agent and the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that he may be interested in taking over the 76ers job if he is unable to return to Atlanta.
Thibodeau: Anything is possible for Rose
In the wake of Chicago's incredible triple overtime win over Brooklyn, some attention (the smallest, of course) has started to turning to the next round. With the Heat on the verge of wrapping up their series with the Bucks and Joakim Noah playing through extreme pain with his plantar fascitis, Derrick Rose is going continually to be a player fans clamor for and the Bulls wait for. Chicago has reportedly told Rose that they are waiting on his timeline and they will welcome him back with open arms while coach Tom Thobideau said anything is possible in regards to Rose.
Jon Kuester, Eric Snow to join Brown's staff in Cleveland?
Mike Brown will begin assembling his staff and already several potential candidates are rumored to be signing up in Cleveland. Former Pistons coach Jon Kuester, an assistant of Browns' in Cleveland, is one of those reported names. So too is former Cavaliers guard and current assistant to Larry Brown at SMU, Eric Snow. Both would add a lot to the staff.
Westbrook knee surgery successful
Russell Westbrook underwent successful surgery to repair the torn meniscus in his right knee. He tweeted sporadically during Saturday's win over the Rockets and thanked everyone for their support for him during a really long day for the Thunder guard.