The Golden State Warriors missed a prime opportunity to solidify the fifth seed in the Western Conference on Sunday. While the Dubs were facing the top-seeded Denver Nuggets on the road, star center Nikola Jokić was ruled out for the game. Despite his absence, the Dubs lost 112-110.
The Warriors got off to a hot start, jumping out to a 36-26 lead by the end of the first quarter, but as has been the story throughout plenty of Golden State’s road games this season, they were unable to sustain the early success.
Nuggets scorers Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray gave the Dubs defense fits all night. Porter scored 14 points in the second and third quarters, quickly erasing Golden State’s advantage. Porter finished the game with 29 points and 11 rebounds and Murray scored 26 points.
Both teams kept pace with one another in the third quarter, before Denver took control during a Warriors offensive drought. The Nuggets led by nine points with less than two minutes remaining, seemingly ready to cruise to victory.
Golden State made a last-minute effort to close the lead, forcing several turnovers, including a pair of shot-clock violations in the final minutes. Klay Thompson hit an incredibly difficult fadeaway three in the final minute to pull within two and had an open look at the top of the key in the final seconds that would have given the Warriors the lead. However, it bounced off the back iron.
While the Splash Brothers combined for 46 points on the night, they were unusually inefficient from the field (16-for-56) and made just seven of their 30 three-point attempts. In fact, Golden State was just 9-for-42 from three on the night.
Donte DiVincenzo was huge in the final minutes and finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Jordan Poole added 17 points on the bench.
The Warriors and Clippers now have the same record (41-38), tied for the fifth seed in the conference. They are only half a game ahead of the Pelicans and Lakers. The Warriors will return home on Tuesday to host the Oklahoma City Thunder.