Warriors Lose to Denver Nuggets, 112-110


In losing to the Denver Nuggets 112-110 on Wednesday night, the Golden State Warriors came just short of compensating for the absence of Draymond Green’s intelligent ferocity. With Green resting his tired legs, the Warriors were outplayed for the vast majority — that is, till they were nearly saved by Stephen Curry channeling the supernatural. At the end, Curry did all he could to right the wrongs of three quarters, and in the end, he came a play away from creating a memory that might have rivaled playoff moments.

The Warriors’ only two losses coming into this game were decisive, without much room for second-guessing. Not so Wednesday, when a decision here or there could have changed it all. Still, interim coach Luke Walton had the accurate summary for what happened: “We didn’t play hard enough and we didn’t play smart enough.”

It began awkwardly, with Golden State starting Jason Thompson for Green at power forward. While that move didn’t bring disastrous results, it set the tone for a team scuffling around the court, deprived of the space and organizing force Green usually provides. If the Warriors were gasping for air, a constricted offense was as likely a culprit as the altitude.

Though the starting lineup was less than ideal, it wasn’t all that plagued Golden State. Curry was off for much of this game, throwing the ball away and shooting 6-of-18 through 3½ quarters. He missed some shots he usually makes, a couple lefty layups Curry said he “tricked off,” but also struggled to get clean looks without Green’s help as a secondary playmaker.

Just when it seemed Curry would be unrecognizable in Green’s absence, the point guard morphed into an unstoppable force. Within a span of six minutes, before his turnover with 10 seconds remaining, Curry scored 20 points on 7-of-7 shooting.

The last shot in this sequence of brilliance was a 33-foot strike, tossed off the top of the Pepsi Center’s mountain logo, with 37 seconds remaining. It was a reminder that Curry can reach new heights, even when he’s at a summit. The Warriors had played horribly, ceding open shots down the stretch and continuously fouling Denver’s Danilo Gallinari, who shot 19 free throws. Still, Curry can be a deus ex machina in these situations, suddenly warping logic and physics to create a win.

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SOURCE: ESPN, Ethan Sherwood Strauss