Nuggets may be short-handed against Warriors

nba4NUGGETS (28-12) AT WARRIORS (9-33)
10:30 p.m. ET; TNT, NBCSBA

Both teams appear to catch a break when the Denver Nuggets visit the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night.

The Warriors have lost nine in a row, but they will take the court having had a day off, while the Nuggets will have flown into San Francisco early on the morning of the game following a home game Wednesday against Charlotte.

While the Nuggets were losing a key player while dispatching the Hornets rather easily, 100-86, the Warriors were working on replenishing their roster.

Having gone in recent games without starting guard Damion Lee, whose two-way contract expired, and backup Marquese Chriss, who was waived for salary-cap purposes, the Warriors will welcome both back for their first meeting of the season with the Nuggets.

Golden State general manager Bob Myers worked his magic to make it happen, getting Lee to agree to a three-year, partially guaranteed contract Wednesday, before shortly thereafter getting Chriss to re-sign to a two-way deal after he cleared waivers.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr was able to put a positive spin on a season in which the Western Conference’s five-time defending champion has slipped to the bottom of the standings.

“It would be pretty tough for me to complain about the hand I’ve been dealt,” he assured reporters. “It’s been a pretty good run and it’s an incredible organization, a great place to live and great people to be around. There’s a lot to be thankful for.

“It’s been a tough season, but this is how it works. This is how sports work. You just kind of get through the tough times and you keep fighting and you keep working and with the idea that better times are ahead.”

The Warriors catch the Nuggets on the second night of a back-to-back, which began with starters Paul Millsap (bruised left knee) and Gary Harris (strained right adductor) on the sidelines.

While noting that he doesn’t consider either injury to be serious, Denver coach Michael Malone indicated he’d be in no hurry to get either back in the lineup.

“One thing I’ve told (Harris) and (Millsap) and some of the other guys: It’s really important that we keep a big-picture approach,” Malone explained to the media. “As much as we want to win every single game, I want to do what’s right by Gary Harris. I want to do what’s right for our team moving forward and hoping to play deep into the postseason.”

A meeting with the NBA’s losingest team couldn’t come at a better time, as the Nuggets almost surely also will be without Jamal Murray against the Warriors. The star guard, who had been questionable for Wednesday’s game with a sore back, had to be helped off the court in the second quarter against the Hornets after turning his left ankle.

Wednesday’s win was the Nuggets’ fourth in their last five games. The trip to Golden State begins a stretch of nine of 13 on the road.

Denver got a lift Wednesday from guard PJ Dozier, who went for 12 points off the bench in his Nuggets debut. Dozier, a two-way player, had spent most of the season in the G League.

No Nuggets starter played more than 31 minutes on the front end of the back-to-back.

–Field Level Media

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