The Golden State Warriors hung with the Denver Nuggets for the final three quarters on Thursday, but it wasn’t enough to climb out of the hole they dug in the first period, en route to a 114-104 loss.
Steph Curry scored five points within the first 31 seconds of the game, and it looked like both teams would be off to the races. The Nuggets held up their end of the deal, pouring in 37 points in the opening period, but on the other end a handful of turnovers and missed layups kept a lid on the Dubs’ scoring. By the time the buzzer sounded, Golden State was already trailing by 13 points, on the road against a quality opponent.
The Warriors tightened up a bit from there, enough to outscore Denver by three points the rest of the way — 80-77 from the second through fourth quarters. But it wasn’t enough to overcome the early blitz, and indeed after the first quarter they never cut the lead to fewer than six points. They didn’t help their cause with 19 turnovers including a ton of bad passes, as well as seven missed free throws, nor by allowing the Nuggets to collect 10 offensive rebounds.
Curry provided a bright spot, traveling to Denver’s high elevation and ironically finding more air to breathe. After being locked down by some tough defensive schemes the last couple games, he looked more like his usual self on Thursday, with 35 points and four assists on 14-of-23 shooting, 5-of-11 from deep, and a couple free throws, with a whopping 11 rebounds on the side. He did commit seven turnovers along the way, but he was a steady scorer throughout.
35-footer? YUP. pic.twitter.com/me9zC7Upb4— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) January 15, 2021
Unfortunately, nobody else caught a hot enough hand alongside Curry. Kelly Oubre hit a few threes but was still inefficient overall, while Andrew Wiggins only managed 16 points and didn’t hit anything from deep. James Wiseman notched 18 on good shooting, but Draymond Green’s seven assists came with five turnovers, and nobody on the bench cracked double-figures — not even Eric Paschall, breaking a streak of doing so for eight straight games, thanks to 2-of-9 shooting.
There were plenty of moments when it looked like the Dubs might be making a push, but it never burned brightly enough nor extended long enough. Denver kept piling points on the board, and Golden State made too many mistakes on offense to keep up.
These are the growing pains of a new team. Some nights they’ll look excellent when it all comes together, as we’ve already seen on multiple occasions. But this was one of those other nights, when we saw them do some good things (especially on a few defensive sequences) but not with enough consistency to win. Shake it off and go get ‘em next time, with more plays like this one below.
Defense ➡️ Offense pic.twitter.com/IehUfsqKnE— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) January 15, 2021
Cap off your evening with a James Wiseman poster slam!
OH MY JAMES WISEMAN pic.twitter.com/vyiGuLu1X5— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) January 15, 2021