The Golden State Warriors will continue their playoff pursuit without standout rookie James Wiseman when they host the Denver Nuggets on Monday night.
Wiseman suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee in a hard fall in Saturday's 125-109 home win over the Houston Rockets. His season likely is over.
The Warriors enter the final 19 games of the regular season dueling Memphis, San Antonio, New Orleans and Sacramento for the final twp playoff spots in the Western Conference. Even with the win over Houston, they have lost eight of their past 11.
In the Nuggets, the Warriors will see a team eager to erase the bad taste of their first loss since Denver acquired Aaron Gordon from Orlando at the trade deadline. That Nuggets' defeat came Sunday at home against Boston, which scored 40 of the game's final 48 points to turn a deficit into a 105-87 win.
The Warriors and Nuggets will meet for the second time this season. Denver used a 37-point first period to build a lead it never relinquished in a 114-104 home win in January.
Nikola Jokic's triple-double trumped Stephen Curry's 35 points in the Nuggets' win.
Against the Celtics, Jokic recorded his 14th triple-double of the season and the 55th of his career with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists.
The Nuggets played a fourth straight game Sunday without high-scoring guard Jamal Murray, who has been bothered by a sore knee. Michael Porter Jr. helped take up the slack with 22 points to complement Jokic.
Denver coach Michael Malone was ejected from the game for complaining about a no-call when he thought Jokic had been fouled. Later, he said he believed his team had fallen into the same trap.
"They turned up the heat, got into us, and we allowed that to kill our offensive flow," Malone said of the Celtics. "Then we started complaining, whining, not getting back, not competing."
Gordon had seven points and seven rebounds in his eighth game with the Nuggets. He has averaged just 9.0 points in his past four games after scoring at a 14.3 per-game clip in his first four outings for Denver.
The San Francisco Bay Area native will get a chance to experience his annual homecoming after it appeared the opportunity had been lost when he sat out Orlando's one and only visit of the season in February with a sprained left ankle.
A rare two-time Mr. Basketball in the state of California as a high school player in San Jose, Gordon has never won as an NBA player in Oakland or San Francisco, going 0-5. He has scored 20 or more points three times against the Warriors in 10 head-to-heads, including 20 in his first return for the Magic in 2016.
Without Wiseman, who has averaged 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds a game this season, the Warriors will be forced to rely on Curry more than ever.
The two-time NBA Most Valuable Player has a shot at franchise history on Monday night as he enters the game 18 points behind Wilt Chamberlain atop the Warriors' all-time scoring list.
"That's surreal, to be honest," Curry said of perhaps surpassing the achievement of a legend. "It's pretty crazy. To know where it started out and all that's happened over the course of the career -- that is a pretty significant milestone that, God willing, when it happens, I will appreciate that moment."
Curry has at least 32 points in each of his past six games.
--Field Level Media