The Golden State Warriors were so close to having a successful road trip, until the wheels fell off. The fell off on Wednesday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves, and then they fell off on Thursday night against the Denver Nuggets.
Golden State started behind the eight ball, as Klay Thompson had a rest day and Draymond Green was a late scratch due to hamstring tightness.
Yet despite that, the Warriors hung tight with the Nuggets, the top team in the Western Conference. Behind a hot start from Steph Curry, the Warriors jumped out to an early 13-6 lead, forcing Denver to call timeout. Jonathan Kuminga, starting in Green’s place, had a strong first quarter as the Warriors built up a nice lead, before a Denver rally made it a one-point game after the quarter.
With the Warriors being shorthanded, they turned to two players who haven’t played much in the second quarter: James Wiseman and JaMychal Green. At the same time! Wiseman played some decent minutes, and the Warriors hung tight with Denver, trailing by just one point at the break.
But disaster struck in the third quarter. The teams went back and forth, and were tied at 85, when Denver, behind another monumental performance from Nikola Jokić, rattled off a 16-0 run. Before the quarter was over it was abundantly clear that the Dubs would not be able to get back into it.
And that was the game. Some Curry brilliance and Jordan Poole aggression left the Warriors flirting with making it a single-digit game in the fourth quarter, but they never really got back in it. Eventually Denver stretched the lead, Steve Kerr waived the white towel, and the Warriors lost 134-117.
Curry led the way with 28 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists, while shooting 10-for-17 from the field and 5-for-10 on threes, but he turned the ball over 6 times. Poole added 22 points and 6 assists, and shot 4-for-8 on threes.
Two role players had highly efficient games, with Kuminga contributing 17 points on 7-for-9 shooting, and Donte DiVincenzo chipping in 14 points on 5-for-7 shooting. Wiseman had 9 points on 3-for-4 shooting in his first game since December.
The Warriors didn’t play Anthony Lamb, as they preserved one of his two-way days.
Golden State next plays on Friday when they host the Dallas Mavericks.