The Denver Nuggets needed a last-second lay-up from Andre Miller to earn their first victory of the NBA Playoffs on Saturday against the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors showed up with a solid plan defensively, shot the ball well from outside, and attacked the boards with more hustle and aggressiveness than the Nuggets. Many of these things seemed to catch Denver by surprise, thus necessitating the late game-winner.
Though the Nuggets weren’t in action on Sunday afternoon or evening, they gained a clear advantage over Golden State with the announcement of two news bulletins. The first came from their team, saying that their high-energy power forward Kenneth Faried will play in game two on Tuesday night. The second piece of news, unfortunately for the Warriors, is that Golden State’s power forward David Lee will miss the rest of the playoffs with a torn hip flexor.
This changes everything and undoubtedly swings the series the way of the Nuggets. For starters, the rebounding in the games in the rest of the series should all favor the Denver now. Faried is one of their best and most aggressive rebounders and would affect that part of the game by himself. However, Golden State will now be without Lee, their best rebounder, for the rest of the postseason. The Nuggets have a decisive advantage in that department.
Also in regards to Lee’s injury, the Warriors are now going to have a much tougher time getting points in the paint. Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli, their two remaining big men in their regular rotation, are not the most sound offensive players and definitely aren’t the caliber of Lee. Because they’ll be the only options in the post, this will allow the Nuggets defense to focus on the perimeter players of Golden State like Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, which will greatly aid Denver’s defense.
Though it’s unfortunate for Lee and the Warriors, it’s hard to deny the fact that this injury majorly affects the trajectory of this series. The Nuggets now have a definite advantage and they are getting their starting power forward back in the lineup as well. Without Lee and with the addition of Faried, this series may be over sooner rather than later.