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Green, Wiggins, Oubre Jr. key for Dubs win against Nuggets Monday night

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By Huey Bergstrom

(SAN FRANCISCO) The Warriors will face off against the Nuggets Monday night at Chase Center following Golden State's home win over the Rockets Saturday night.

Rookie James Wiseman appears to be sidelined for at least this game and likely the rest of the season, which puts even more pressure on the greatest shooter in NBA history to carry the offensive load. While Curry is certainly capable of that, it's Draymond Green who becomes crucial if the Warriors will make any extended postseason run.

Curry has played MVP level all season. Without him, the Warriors are 1-7 and beyond just that, they have no identity without Chef Curry. In years past Green has shown flares on offense when it's needed but this season that touch hasn't been there when it counted. Furthermore, he hasn't been taking the ball to the hoop with the same intensity as years past and is given free license by every other team to fire threes whenever.

His percentage from behind the arc this year is a dreary 25.6%, which might be why he is perennially left open.

Wiggins is shooting a career high 38.1% and Oubre Jr. is shooting a slightly-below average 31.7%. This is where most Warriors writers would mention that Thompson guy with some air of longing and sadness. We at Newsbreak never wallow and thus we'll only briefly mention, things would be quite different if the Warriors were healthy.

But, they're not, which means they have to compensate. In part, that's been on Curry's shoulders this season but as the bumps and bruises of the season swell up late into the year, the All-Star point guard will need some help.

Green, Oubre Jr. and Wiggins will need to play well for the remainder of the season for the Dubs to make it to the playoffs. Not an unfathomable order but certainly seems unlikely based on some of their recent play.

Specifically against the Nuggets, Green will have to go for a double-double at least, indicating that he is holding his own on the boards against a taller Jokic. Wiggins will need to offer better shooting than he has in previous games and Oubre Jr. needs to make some threes. All very doable but has yet to be seen whether it will be done.

The Nuggets are coming off a tough loss at home which means they'll likely be pretty tired and possibly resting their stars for a playoff run. To win, the Warriors bench has to take advantage of any possible lag. Damion Lee has to actually attack rather than catching off of a pick-and-roll and immediately looking to get rid of it, as he did Friday night. Jordan Poole will have to make more than one three and Juan Toscano-Anderson will have to play defense rather than fouling 20 feet away from the hoop.

Again, all very doable. This is the time in years past that the Warriors have flipped the championship caliber switch, going super-saiyan in preparation for the playoffs. But, this year is quite different and, without the star power of previous years, it's unlikely they have that same switch to flip.

A late free-agent signing that could prove interesting is Gary Payton II. He's 28 so closer to a veteran in the NBA than most of the other, non-core guys on the squad. He can play good defense and, at times, has shot well. Crucially, he would be another player who can offers some support, on both sides of the ball, when Curry is out.

Overall, the Warriors still have a great chance at making it in. The issue really becomes their defensive focus, namely their ability to play defense without fouling especially late in games, and their offensive spacing.

According to b-ball index, Curry ranks lowest in spacing percentile, which measures the number of spacers on the court with Steph during non-garbage time minutes.

An interesting statistic especially when looking at Curry's shooting percentages on the year. He's shooting over 41% from behind the arc and 47.7% from the field. Despite a clustered, at times disoriented offense, Steph is still able to put up top-tier shooting numbers.

It begs the question, what happens when he can get another shooter back on the floor.

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