OAKLAND, Calif - Wilson Chandler said after the game that this was among the team's best wins of the season and their biggest road victory. It came down to execution and stops and the Nuggets did enough to pull off the win.
"Great atmosphere to play in tonight," said Nuggets coach Brian Shaw. "We talked to our guys about how it was going to be a lot of fun and how much the fans get behind them. I thought we got contributions from everywhere."
Shaw was right. Nate Robinson came off the bench and led the team with 24 points, including 14 points on 6-8 shooting in the fourth quarter. J.J. Hickson went for 24 rebounds, with 20 of them coming on the defensive end. Wilson Chandler went for 22 points, Randy Foye for 21 of his own, and Ty Lawson put up 22 points and 11 assists. It was an entertaining game that came down to the final minute.
With the Nuggets down 116-115 with just 1:13 to go after a pair of David Lee free throws, Shaw took a timeout to diagram a play. That play would be a Lawson and Hickson pick-and-roll where Ty found J.J. on his way to the hoop, a soft eight-foot bunny found it's home off the bounce and it was up to Denver's defense to come up with a big stop.
The Warriors were exploiting the Nuggets' switching defense and found Lee in mismatches on Robinson in the post. Shaw went to the switching defense to prevent the long-ball from hurting his team.
"I decided to just switch everything at the end when we had a little bit of a lead," said Shaw. "And give up two, if anything, as opposed to trying to scramble in our pick-and-roll scheme. So, we switched out and Steph Curry made some plays, they went into the post and shot over our guys when we switched, but J.J. made a big play at the end when he got the steal and went down and got the dunk."
The play Shaw is referring to was when Hickson stole the ball from Curry with :51 seconds to go, raced down court, got the dunk, and drew the foul.
"I just wanted to push up [on Curry]," said Hickson. "I knew if he got any daylight at the rim he was going to let it fly. I got him to turn the ball over."
Hickson was asked how he raced down the court for the dunk as big men are not supposed to be able to do that.
"I actually had the ball in my right hand the whole time," said Hickson. "I figured if I put it in my left it was going to be in the third row. I just wanted to protect the ball and go up strong."
Funny thing though ... Shaw didn't draw up the defensive play to have Hickson on Lee, he drew it up for Robinson to cover Lee ... seriously.
"We made a mistake on that because Wilson was supposed to be on Steph Curry and Nate was supposed to be on David Lee," said Shaw. "So that if they came up in that situation [to set a pick] they could switch back and Nate could be on Curry and we could have a guy with size on David Lee. Somehow, J.J. ended up on David Lee again, so when the pick-and-roll came he switched out and we were just yelling from the bench for him to stay up and not give up a three. Just a gutsy performance by our guys all the way around."
Shaw went on to explain that he was okay giving up a Lee post bucket versus a three-pointer from the outside. A dangerous game with his team up 117-116, but Hickson played the role of hero with his theft on Curry.
From there the Nuggets got a big offensive rebound from Foye after Hickson missed the free throw, Lawson missed a jumper, Hickson got to that offensive board, and Lawson iced the game with four free throws. The Nuggets out-executed the Warriors down the stretch and earned their finest win of the season in a hostile environment.
Views you can use:
-Nuggets shot 61.9% in the first half (26-42) and finished the game shooting 54.2% (45-83)
-Randy Foye had 18 of his 21 points in the first half on 7-9 shooting (3-5 from deep)
-Wilson Chandler had 14 of his 22 points in the first half on 5-10 shooting (2-4 from deep)
-The Warriors 100.8 defensive rating was 3rd in NBA before giving up 123 to the Nuggets
-I liked what Shaw got from Evan Fournier and Quincy Miller in this game. Fours got a big time steal at the end of the third quarter when he helped Foye on Lee in the post and then hit the shot just across half court to give Denver a much needed 9-point lead heading into the fourth. Miller got just one bucket off a nice dunk, but also had a good close out on Curry in just over three minutes of action.
-Andre Iguodala was a total non-factor with 3 points on 1-7 shooting (1-2 from the charity stripe) and Chandler got the bulk of his points with Iggy guarding him.
-Amazing time at the game tonight in Oakland. Great crowd, some Nuggets fans in attendance (a rainbow Mutombo jersey by the Nuggets bench!), and a very entertaining game. Enjoyed my first trip to Oracle.