Almost a year ago today, the Warriors came to the Pepsi Center for a Playoff Series Game 2 that would change the course of both franchises. Without All-Star David Lee, Golden State shocked the Denver faithful with a dominating performance, stealing a home court advantage it would not relinquish.
Tonight the stakes were much different as the home team played for pride (and retiring trainer Jim Gillen) in its season finale, while the visitors brought the "B-team" in order to rest up for the playoffs. Unfortunately for the Nuggets, the result was the same as both Jordan Crawford and Harrison Barnes set career highs with 41 and 30 points respectively. Randy Foye had 31 for Denver to no avail, as the 116-112 loss will leave a sour taste in the mouth of Brian Shaw in the final game of his first season as a head coach.
The first half played out like so many others in the 2013-2014 campaign. Despite missing four of its starting five, the Warriors had their way with the Nuggets defense, cashing in on eight three pointers and taking a 66-52 lead into halftime.
Denver cut it close a couple times in the third but Golden State had an answer for each run. Disjointed and borderline dysfunctional, frustrations finally boiled over when Denver's Aaron Brooks picked up two technical fouls in under a minute and was shown the door by the officiating crew. The point guard's ejection seemed to light a fire beneath the team, which put together a 13-0 run into the early 4th quarter.
The Nuggets reclaimed their first lead since the opening minutes after a Quincy Miller layup made it 90-88. From there, it became Jordan Crawford against Randy Foye as both teams traded leads into the closing minutes. Down two with a minute left, Foye could not finish a wide open game tying layup, a costly final mistake the team could not overcome.
Denver finishes its season with a record of 36-46 and will miss the postseason for the first time since Carmelo was a pup. Golden State will represent the West as the #6 seed and will face the Clippers in the opening round.