Nuggets vs. Warriors recap: Second half collapse in Oakland

Ezra Shaw

The Nuggets held a 60-51 lead heading into the locker room, they stretched that lead to as many as 16 points in the third quarter, but couldn't close out the Warriors or hit big shots late. Nuggets lose 106-105 to the Warriors.

Denver is now 2-1 against the Warriors, but they should easily be 3-0. The Warriors are missing their starting center in Andrew Bogut and key bench pieces Brandon Rush and Richard Jefferson. But Golden State plays hard and their offense can easily get them back into games and now their defense is helping out too.

Karl confirms post game that the team was trying to get the ball to Ty Lawson on the second to last offensive possession. A very difficult pass, low-percentage for sure, to make and one that Andre Miller was not able to connect on. On the last possession, Karl said JaVale McGee was the "decoy" and that they were trying to get the ball to Andre Iguodala for a long jumper with just 0.05 seconds remaining. As a fan, I didn't like either play as they each were flawed in my eyes, for different reasons.

But make no mistake, the end of the game should not have been that close. The Nuggets, for the second time in as many games, failed to put away the home team when they had big leads. Those in Nuggets Nation will complain that Denver time-and-again lets big leads slip away ... not just this season, but during George Karl's tenure. The funny thing, watching NBA games more regularly this season with League Pass - I've noticed that teams cough up big leads all the time. Just the other night the Bucks erased a 20+ point deficit to the Bulls and pulled out a win on a 30-12 run. Wow.

Does that mean that I'm not concerned with the Nuggets blowing big leads? No. But you have to understand that it is part of the game. But the reason for losing the lead is of bigger concern to me. The Nuggets were, at one point, 9-15 from downtown on the evening and there was a feel-good vibe from the team. Denver finished 1-6 from deep to go 10-21 on the night. A good percentage for sure, but starting hot and finishing cold helped doom the team.

Denver shot 53% in the first half and finished the game shooting just 45%. The Warriors shot 51% in the first half and finished the game shooting 51-percent. You see the trend there?

Instead of going for the kill in the second half, the Nuggets allowed the Warriors to dictate what types of shots Denver took. This lead to plenty of jump shots and not enough attacking. After attempting just 5 free throws in the first half, Denver did get 19 foul shots in the second half (19-24, 79%), but don't let that fool you ... the Nuggets were not attacking in the way we have become used to over the years.

Kenneth Faried finished with 10 points, 7 rebounds (3 offensive), and 5 blocks. He had three blocks on Warrior fast-break attempts. My two cents, Faried is the Most Valuable Player on this Nuggets team right now. His rebounding is invaluable as is his hustle. When Andrew and I came together to create this site, one motto we had was wanting the players, coaches, front office guys, and owner(s) to care more about the game than we do. With Faried, you know he cares about the game and he is an absolute joy to watch.

Danilo Gallinari started the game 5-7 from the field, as did Iguodala. Gallo finished the game 1-5 and was nearly invisible late in the game (20 points). The Nuggets didn't work to get him the ball and he also didn't demand the ball. Gallo was 0-3 in the fourth quarter and 1-2 from the free throw line. Corey Brewer, who had 7 points early and was helping to inject life into the Nuggets, was just 1-4 in the fourth (1-2 from the foul line). Brewer finished the night 4-12 shooting and was just 2-6 from deep (12 points on 12 shots, not good). Karl has called Brewer his wildcard player and I love that about him, but on nights when he doesn't have it - the coach needs to recognize that. Karl coud have gone back to Hamilton, but he didn't ... more on that below.

Iguodala, who started 5-7, finished the game 3-10 shooting for 22 points. Had the refs put the correct time on the clock at the end of the game, should have been at least 0.07 seconds in my eyes as the Warrior bench player touched the ball with 0.07 seconds left on the clock and the ball was already out of bounds at that point, the Nuggets would have won it. Iguodala is trying more-and-more to assert himself as the offensive weapon for this team. That is good-and-bad. Iguodala is a fine player, but why aren't other guys trying to step up? People will argue that you have to have one guy at the end of games and for better-or-worse it's looking like Iguodala will take that role (remember, he can become a free agent after the season if he chooses ... the long-term contract guys are not stepping up, as of yet).

David Lee ... what can you say about him tonight? A season high 31 points on 13-15 shooting. The Nuggets tried Kosta Koufos, JaVale McGee, Kenneth Faried, and even Corey Brewer on him. He ate them all alive tonight. Lee was also 5-7 from the foul line and even put up 9 rebounds (4 offensive), and 6 assists.

The Nuggets, read Lawson, did an excellent job of containing Stephen Curry in Denver, but he lit it up tonight for 20 points, Klay Thompson added 21 of his own, and Jarrett Jack had 18 points off the bench for the Warriors.

The Nuggets defense let them down tonight, as did their lackadaisical offense in the second half. The Nuggets got into a comfort zone with their hot shooting in the first half and doomed themselves in this one.

Back at it tomorrow in Los Angeles to face the hated Lakers.

Views you can use:

-Jordan Hamilton played 10 minutes in the first half and turned in a team best +16 with 5 points on 2-4 shooting with 1 assist and 1 nice block on a Warrior fast-break layup attempt. Hamilton's encouraging first half earned him a benching for the second half.

-Anthony Randolph got an early 7 minute stint tonight as Gallo and Faried each picked up two quick fouls. Randolph got the nod ahead of Timofey Mozgov as the Nuggets likely wanted to go with an athlete against the versatile Warriors. I liked the hustle plays from Randolph tonight and his 2 assists. I didn't like his forced shot attempt, that was blocked.

-The Nuggets were outscored 28-19 in the fourth quarter tonight and only outscored the Warriors in one quarter (the second 35-21).

-Things could be worse ... we could all fall into this black hole that is 17-billion times bigger than our sun! Click here.


Final - 11.29.2012 1 2 3 4 Total
Denver Nuggets 25 35 26 19 105
Golden State Warriors 30 21 27 28 106

Complete Coverage >


For more, visit Golden State Of Mind.

Nate_Timmons on Twitter
ntimmons73@yahoo.com

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