Nuggets-Warriors Preview

After an ugly loss in Southern California, the Golden State
Warriors should be glad to get back on their home court.

The Warriors look to match their best home start in five years
when they face the Denver Nuggets on Monday night.

Golden State (7-6) is 5-1 at home, and with a win Monday will
match the home start of the 2006-07 club, the only edition of the
Warriors to make the playoffs since 1993-94.

However, the Warriors have looked like a different team away
from Oracle Arena. They have dropped five of seven and three
straight on the road, including a 117-89 loss to the Los Angeles
Lakers on Sunday night. Monta Ellis, who is second in the NBA with
25.9 points per game, was held to a season-low five while shooting
2 of 10 from the field. Adding injury to insult, Ellis left the
game with a hip injury in the third quarter.

He is expected to play Monday. Golden State may need him, as
he’s averaging 31.0 points over his last three games against Denver
(7-6).

“You have to move on again because you cannot hold onto it,”
Warriors coach Keith Smart said. “We’ve got another game (Monday)
night. We didn’t come out with the competitive edge that we needed
to match them.”

Smart’s club may have an uphill climb to match Denver. The
Nuggets have won six straight meetings in the series, averaging
126.7 points in those matchups. They scored 123 or more in all four
games between the clubs in 2009-10.

The Nuggets could use that kind of consistency in their overall
play this season. They have alternated losses with wins over their
last six games, and are looking to record back-to-back victories
for just the second time this season after defeating New Jersey
107-103 on Saturday night.

“We’re going to get it together. I have faith. It’s a long
season,” Carmelo Anthony, who had 28 points and eight rebounds,
told the team’s official website. “The schedule has been tough on
us so far, but it’s turning for us. We’ve got a stretch where we
can win some games and break this open a little bit.”

The Nuggets are 18-5 versus the Warriors in games that Anthony
has played.

Chauncey Billups probably didn’t enjoy Saturday’s win as much as
Anthony. The point guard suffered a nose fracture, chipped tooth,
and sprained right wrist during the game against the Nets. His
status for Monday is unknown.

While the Nuggets may be without Billups, they could be getting
one of their defensive specialists back.

Reserve big man Chris Andersen, who has led the team in blocks
the last two seasons, has yet to play in 2010-11. He made it
through a full practice Sunday, though, and is likely to take the
court versus the Warriors.

“My knee’s doing really well,” said Andersen, who has been
recovering from offseason surgery to repair a partially-torn
patella tendon. “I’m ecstatic about coming back. It’s been a long
time waiting and I’m just trying to be optimistic and realistic at
the same time.”