The Denver Nuggets are 14-20 and don’t figure to be around when Golden State tries for its third straight run to the NBA Finals this spring. But the Warriors needed something from everybody (20-plus from the Curry, Durant, Thompson trio and a triple-double from Draymond Green) to beat the Nuggets 127-99 in what can only be described as a shootout. The Warriors, who some believe are weakened defensively with the Durant acquisition, gave up 64 points in the first half. They own a league-best 30-5 record with the #1 offense in the NBA, but performances like this sound an alarm for some fans who know that title contenders need defense as strong as their offense.
Yet despite fears that Golden State has surrendered some defensive prowess, stats tell otherwise. At least some stats. While ESPN shows that Golden State ranks #18 in Opponents Points Per Game (the exact place they held at the end of last season), Teamrankings.com shows the Warriors rank #2 overall in defensive efficiency, trailing only the Memphis Grizzles and just in front of Utah and San Antonio. The Warriors finished #8 in that category last year.