Klay Thompson and the rest of the Warriors got off to a red hot start - making six threes in the first opening minutes - largely due to poor defensive awareness from Malik Beasley and Jamal Murray. The game quickly turned into a shootout and the Nuggets were able to recover from the initial attack, but unfortunately Nikola Jokic picked up two quick fouls in the process. Denver played great offensively but couldn’t buy a stop on the other end. Golden State put on a shooting clinic in the first: 10-14 from three and three players in double figures (KD, Steph, Klay). Murray had a great quarter with 15 points, but the Nuggets were still down 51-38.
The onslaught continued in the second quarter as Golden State quickly pushed the lead up to 20. Jokic checked back in and immediately went to work on Draymond Green, drawing an and-one and a Green technical (that should’ve gotten him ejected for how much he was jawing). The slight momentum enabled Denver to chip away at the lead a bit, but the Warriors had an answer for everything. Murray even hit a huge transition three to bring Denver within 12 and get the crowd pumped, but nothing was stopping the Warriors from getting buckets. At the half, Denver was down 79-60.
The second half was the same. Warriors shoot. Warriors make. Final score: 142-111.
Look, tonight sucked. But one loss does not a season make. The Nuggets just ran into the best team in the NBA who played at a historic level tonight. No one can beat the Warriors when they shoot over 50% from three, have three guys combine for 90 points and finish with nearly 40 assists. The Nuggets are still a good team having a great season, and no matter what any local or national media member says that hasn’t changed.
What has changed is this: the Nuggets’ honeymoon period this season is over. The Warriors came in and sent a message loud and clear to the that there is still a long way to go before Denver can truly be given the respect they and all of us fans were seeking. That’s perfectly okay. It’s part of the growing pains that will help the Nuggets develop from a good to a great team.
A lot of Denver’s weaknesses were exposed tonight, especially on the defensive end. There are still 39 games to be played. The team is young. The sky is still the limit, whether Denver reaches it this season or in the future. Hopefully they come away with the resolve that they just aren’t quite good enough. If that’s the case, it will be a great rest of the season.