The Golden State Warriors rolled in for their second straight trip in high altitude against the Denver Nuggets. Much like their game against the Utah Jazz, the Warriors tried to come from a double-digit deficit — unlike the game against the Jazz, they fell short, courtesy of a blocked shot from behind.
There was to be no role player heroics tonight.
Contrary to their game against the Jazz, where defense was pretty much an afterthought in the first quarter, the Warriors’ defense in the first quarter against the Nuggets was exceptional. The Nuggets were held to an abysmal 3-of-23 shooting from the field, with just a 1-of-10 clip from three-point range, and they were held to 17 points in the entire quarter.
However, a similar theme from the Jazz game emerged: the Nuggets had 16 free throw attempts in the quarter, making 10 of them — the Warriors’ ongoing addiction to committing fouls continued to plague them.
Andre Iguodala made his return from injury, and immediately made his presence known.
Iggy’s back and the bench is loving it pic.twitter.com/BOrsRRGgbm— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) October 22, 2018
Warriors 25, Nuggets 17
We’ve got a slow grind, folks. The Warriors gifted the Nuggets with a plethora of turnovers, finishing the half with 12 of them. The offensive trio of Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson went a combined 9-of-28 from the field. Of note, Thompson’s shooting slump continued, going 2-of-8 from the field, with 0-of-4 from beyond the three-point line.
The league’s newfound focus on emphasizing “freedom-of-movement” continues to hound the Warriors — they committed 16 fouls, and as a result, the Nuggets had a total of 26 free throw attempts. Fortunately for the Warriors, the Nuggets only made 14 of them. On the other hand, the Warriors had 19 free throw attempts, making 15.
Despite the subpar level of play from the Warriors, they entered halftime with a 2-point lead, no doubt helped by Durant’s scoring. After scoring only 2 points in the first quarter, he finished the half with 11, going to the line several times and scoring on one-on-one possessions.
KD taking on the entire Nuggets roster pic.twitter.com/7phWGeZkcN— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) October 22, 2018
Warriors 49, Nuggets 47
The Warriors get outscored by the Nuggets, 33-21. Gary Harris torched the Warriors, scoring 11 points in the quarter. The Nuggets hit a couple of timely threes, while the Warriors continued to struggle from beyond the arc, going 3-of-20 — all three coming from Curry.
The rest of the team has been 0-of-9 from three-point range.
The only shining light for the Warriors in this quarter was Kevon Looney — who at this point had 10 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks. He continues to be a beacon of hard work and effort, but in a night like this, the Warriors will need more effort and good play from everyone, especially from their big four.
Nuggets 80, Warriors 70
Klay Thompson finally hit his second three of the season off of a nice pindown:
#BeardedKlay finally hits his second 3 of the season pic.twitter.com/BnrPAvo0sn— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) October 22, 2018
And he also threw down a beautiful backdoor dunk courtesy of a great Draymond Green pass:
GET UP KLAY pic.twitter.com/fiP3mbl4kO— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) October 22, 2018
Curry continues to make a case for being the MVP of the Warriors. Sparking a comeback from a 13-point deficit, Curry made several timely threes and drives — despite being arguably fouled on a couple of them.
Down 2 points with under two minutes left to play, the Warriors start to clamp down defensively. A good defensive stop leads to a classic transition dunk from Iguodala to tie the game at 97-all:
TIED. GAME. pic.twitter.com/cufN2zwNLX— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) October 22, 2018
However, the Warriors were the unfortunate victims of foul calls due to holding. The continued emphasis on freedom-of-movement is becoming somewhat of a controversy.
The Nuggets gave multiple chances for the Warriors to tie the game or take a lead, courtesy of missed free throw attempts. But the Warriors were never able to take advantage. Down 2 with one timeout remaining, the Warriors opt not to use it — Curry pushes the ball down the floor to catch the Nuggets off-guard, and penetrates towards the basket, drawing several defenders. Curry passes to an open Damian Jones, who gets up for what seems like the game-tying basket. A good rotation by Juancho Hernangomez enables him to block Jones from behind, and the Warriors’ comeback falls short.
Curry finishes the game with 30 points, 4 rebounds, and 6 assists. This marks the third straight game that Curry has scored 30 or more points. Durant finishes with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists, but with an inefficient 7-of-19 shooting clip, and an abysmal 0-4 from three-point range.
The Warriors shot 7-of-29 from beyond the arc, for a percentage of 24.1%. Only Curry (6) and Thompson (1) accounted for those 7 makes.
The Warriors go back home for the second game of their back-to-back against the Phoenix Suns. Chances are that Steve Kerr might rest some of his players — stay tuned for updates.
On to the next one, Dub Nation.