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Recap: Denver Nuggets outlast the Golden State Warriors

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Denver Nuggets v Golden State Warriors Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

The Denver Nuggets were on the road for the second night of a back-to-back, and they didn’t start the game strong with a late and long fadeaway 3-point miss out of Nikola Jokic. After a pair of misses by the Golden State Warriors, Will Barton got the scoring started with a 3-point jumper, but they gave up one to the Warriors on the other end.

The Nuggets offense was struggling out of the gate and Golden State was taking advantage with a pair of 3-point makes to get out to a 9-3 lead. Denver finally got into the scoring column again with a pair of makes from the free-throw line by Monte Morris. Their defense wasn’t getting the job done though with the number of 3-point looks they were giving up. Golden State took those shots in stride by going up 12-5 and forcing a timeout out of Michael Malone.

Following the timeout, Barton got a contested floater to fall to bring the team within five. Their offense remained stagnant however with multiple misses and turnovers keeping them down by seven following a basket by the Warriors. The Nuggets continued their cold shooting, and the Warriors were able to get out to a nine-point lead after a 3:00+ minute drought before Morris got a jumper to fall.

Willie Cauley-Stein got inside for a basket while being fouled by Barton, and Malone made changes to the lineup as a. P.J. Dozier, Michael Porter Jr. and Juan Hernangomez entered the game with five minutes left on the clock. Down by 10, Hernangomez got a 3-point shot to fall to bring them within seven.

After trading multiple misses, Mason Plumlee entered the game. On his first touch, he turned the ball over which led to an easy dunk in transition for Golden State. Denver continued to be sloppy with the ball as they had five turnovers in the first nine minutes of play.

Following a dead-ball timeout, the Nuggets gave up a pair of baskets before Porter got a 3-point shot to fall. Following his make, they gave up a transition 3-point shot to Alec Burks which forced another timeout out of Malone before the first quarter had even come to a close. Following the timeout and a miss by Dozier, the Nuggets gave up another 3-point shot that stretched their deficit to 16.

After averaging just 13.2 turnovers per game this season, they got their seventh with a minute remaining which led to another transition 3-pointer and a 19-point hole. They finally got the bleeding to stop with a pair of Plumlee free throws. Hernangomez missed a wide-open dunk which typified how the night was going for Denver through the first quarter. Morris chased down the long rebound, but he missed his shot.

Plumlee was able to get the rebound and draw a foul where he made both free throws. At the end of the first quarter, Denver was down 34-19 because their offense looked inept, and the Warriors were shooting 7-of-12 from 3-point range. If they were going to come back in this game, they had to clean things up on both ends of the floor.

Coming out of the quarter break, Jokic got his first shot to fall underneath the basket, and the Nuggets were playing a rare lineup with Jokic and Plumlee both on the floor. They were aggressive going to Jokic under the basket, and he got another bucket to fall. Despite his makes, Golden State got another 3-point shot to fall which kept their lead at 14. Morris went to the line where he made both of his attempts to bring them within 12.

On the next possession, Denver got their eighth turnover of the game which was the same amount of 3-point shots that the Warriors had made to that point. Porter committed his second foul, and the Warriors got out to a 14-point lead. He missed a layup, and the team was unable to score despite three tip attempts.

With 9:30 to go, Porter was subbed out for Barton, and, after a miss by Jokic, the Warriors went down a made another 3-point shot to go up by 17. With a long a methodical possession, the Nuggets got an open look for Barton who drained a 3-point shot to bring them within 12. After giving up a dunk by Cauley-Stein, Malik Beasley continued some solid minutes with another 3-pointer that brought them within 11.

Following a Golden State timeout, the Nuggets got another 3-point shot to fall from Barton that brought them within 8. Cauley-Stein extended the lead again with a layup late in the shot clock. Beasley caught a gorgeous cross-court pass from Jokic and buried a 3-point shot to cut the lead down to seven. On the other end, Denver forced a turnover, and Jerami Grant got a contested layup to fall to get them to five and force a Warriors’ timeout.

Denver forced another turnover out of the timeout, but they weren’t able to convert on the opportunity. After trading misses and turnovers, the Warriors got the scoring going again witha 3-point shot. Jokic got his third basket to fall near the hoop. On the other end, he committed a foul, and Golden State capitalized with a make and went up by nine.

After a Denver miss, the Warriors made a 3-point shot that put them up by 12. After some frustration with a non-call, despite quite a bit of contact, Jokic picked up a technical foul that allowed the Warriors to get up by 13 before Barton made a layup. The Nuggets were not liking the physical style of play that the referees were allowing and Barton picked up his own technical foul on the next possession.

Down by 12, Jokic picked up a questionable offensive foul that sent him to the bench with a minute to go. Golden State immediately capitalized with a floater before draining a 3-point shot off of another Denver turnover. With 24 seconds remaining, Jokic re-entered the game for offensive purposes, but he didn’t touch the ball on the team’s final possession. The first half ended with a Warriors’ missed 3-point shot, which we didn’t see super frequently in those 24 minutes.

In the first half, the Nuggets just couldn’t do anything right or keep anything rolling. After starting the second quarter 8-of-12, they ended it on a 2-of-13 run. They had nine turnovers, which was fewer than the Warriors’ 10, but they were shooting nearly 50 percent from the field and over 50 percent from 3-point range, while Denver was at 31.7 and 41.2 percent.

Coming out of halftime, the Nuggets gave up an offensive rebound which led to a layup by Draymond Green, which was answered by Jokic on the other end. With Cauley-Stein around the basket, they fouled him, and he missed both of his free-throw attempts. On the other end, Barton nailed another 3-point shot to bring them within 14 before Golden State nailed one of their own.

Denver had another turnover, but Golden State wasn’t able to convert before Barton drained another 3-point shot. On a drive to the basket, Cauley-Stein got up for a big block on Barton that killed their momentum. With 8:30 remaining, Barton was blocked again which led to an easy transition basket for Golden State followed by another Denver turnover. Off of that turnover, Golden State made their 25th basket which was fed by their 22nd assist.

Following a Denver timeout, the Nuggets got an easy basket for Grant to fall which brought them to within 17. Denver created a turnover, but they were unable to capitalize on it after they turned the ball over themselves. After a number of misses by each team, Beasley got a 3-point bucket to fall, but the Warriors converted an alley-oop on the other end from Green to Cauley-Stein.

Down 75-58, Morris got a 3-point shot to fall to bring them within 14. Following a Golden State turnover, Grant got a big dunk on the other end to get within 12 and force a Warriors’ timeout. Coming out of the timeout, Green nailed a basket, but he drew a technical foul after the basket went down. Following the technical, Porter nailed a 3-point shot that cut the deficit to 10, but Denver couldn’t stop another alley-oop from falling.

After trading baskets, Denver forced a turnover with three minutes to go and god Dozier back on the floor. Barton converted a mid-range jumper to cut the lead to single digits. On three straight possessions, the Nuggets had three turnovers that prevented them from cutting into the lead even more. The Warriors nailed a pair of free throws that allowed them to get back up by 10.

Following a near-make from Dozier, the Warriors got a big dunk out of rookie Eric Paschall to go down. On the following possession, they got an absolute circus layup to fall despite two Nuggets’ players being in close coverage. At the end of the third quarter, the Nuggets had gotten the lead down to 12, but they were still struggling to get any closer than that.

Kicking of the fourth quarter, Barton got an easy layup to fall and get them within 10. After a pair of Golden State free throws, Barton was aggressive going towards the basket where he drew a foul. After his free throws, Porter got a block which led to a Beasley 3-point shot on the other end after an offensive rebound by Barton. Being down by seven was the closest the Nuggets had been in a while.

After a Warriors’ timeout, the Nuggets were able to force another turnover, but they returned the favor and followed it up with a foul. After the Alec Burks’ free throws, the Nuggets were down by nine and got Plumlee to the foul line to try and cut into that lead. He made both of his free throws, but Plumlee ran through Burks on a 3-point attempt which gave him three easy attempts to extend the lead where he made two.

Barton was unable to convert a 3-point shot, and, after avoiding a turnover, Paschall drove to the basket where he made the layup through a foul. After Golden State converted the 3-point play, the Nuggets got an easy bucket for Porter before Beasley forced another turnover. Following the turnover, he made a mid-range jump shot to bring them within eight.

On the next Denver possession, the ball was whipping all over the floor before Jokic got an easy basket at the cup. Golden State answered with another long alley-oop, but Beasley continued his hot night with a long jumper to keep it at six. After the Warriors went 1-of-2 at the line, Beasley got a floater to go that brought the team within five and gave him 18 points on the night.

On the next possession, the Warriors got an offensive rebound that turned into a 3-point make. Porter was able to answer with his own from the corner off of a Jokic feed. After forcing a Golden State miss, Beasley fired up a heat-check 3-point shot that brought them within two. It forced another timeout out of the Warriors, and it gave him 21 points on the night.

Following the timeout, Glenn Robinson III got a layup to fall through a Beasley foul. The ensuing free throw pushed the lead back to five. After a Denver miss, they were able to force a Warriors’ miss where Beasley got a big rebound while laying on the floor before calling a timeout.

Following their timeout, Jokic missed a shot, but he was able to make it following an offensive rebound by Plumlee. Up by three, the Warriors drew another foul and went to the line where they converted both shots. Barton nailed a jumper on the other end that gave him 25 points on the night. Burks missed his own heat-check on an airball which gave Denver the ball back with three minutes remaining.

Up by three, D’Angelo Russell got loose for a 3-point shot in the corner that stretched the lead to six before Jokic nailed a long jumper. After a Plumlee block, Denver got out in transition where he converted a dunk to bring them within two. On Golden State’s next possession, Denver was able to force a shot-clock violation which gave them the ball with 1:30 remaining.

After a miss by Beasley, Porter crashed the board and got a shot to fall through the fall. He went to the line to give them their first lead since they were up 3-0. On the Warriors’ next possession, Denver forced Golden State’s 19th turnover while also drawing a foul that gave them two more free-throw attempts, which they made both of. Down 108-111, Golden State missed a 3-point shot, but they got a steal off of Plumlee before heading to the free-throw line after a foul.

After going 2-of-2 at the line, Denver was up 111-110 with 50.2 seconds remaining after trailing by as many as 19. Following a Denver timeout, Barton traveled in the middle of the court to give Golden State the ball with 36.0 remaining. After a near turnover, Golden State got their 17th 3-point shot of the night to fall and give them a 113-111 lead with less than 20 seconds on the clock.

On Denver’s next possession, Jokic got an easy shot near the basket to fall and tie the game. With 10 seconds remaining, the Warriors missed a potential game-winning 3-point shot which sent the game to overtime. Jokic didn’t get his fourth game winner at the end of regulation, but his clutch gene was huge late in the game.

After drawing a foul on Cauley-Stein, he drove to the basket following the out-of-bounds play where he got his shot to fall. However, Golden State got another 3-point shot to fall and retake the lead. Not to be outdone, Barton got a 3-point shot of his own that gave him 28 on the night. Golden State was able to tie it up at 118 before Beasley got a high layup to fall. Off of his layup, he fell and was unable to get back in transition which gave up an open 3-point make and sacrificed the lead again.

After a miss by Jokic, Plumlee caught the rebound and slammed it home to put them up by one. A nifty pass by Porter got Plumlee in prime position where he drew a foul to send him to the line. He made 1-of-2 which gave them a 2-point lead. With under two minutes remaining, Denver forced another miss, and they got a big putback dunk by Plumlee that gave them a 4-point lead and force the Warriors to take a timeout.

Golden State missed a 3-point shot out of the timeout, and Barton nailed a deep 3-point shot on the other end that put them up by seven. Golden State was unable to their shot to fall, but Denver turned the ball over to keep the door open. After breaking the press, Porter nailed a pair of free throws to go up seven. Denver gave the Warriors an easy drive to the basket where the layup fell and sent them to the line to cut the score to 130-126.

Up by four, Denver was salting the game away with free throws. However, Golden State made another 3-point shot that brought the game within three. At the line, Plumlee had a chance to put the team up by five, but he missed them both before Jokic fouled Green on the rebound and sent him to the line. Down by three, Green nailed both shots to bring it to a one-point game with 9.9 seconds remaining and forced Denver to take their final timeout.

Out of the timeout, Beasley caught the inbounds pass and went to the line. He nailed both shots to give them a 3-point lead that they would not relinquish and gave them a 134-131 win when the Warriors’ shot does not fall at the buzzer. Despite the starters, outside of Barton, struggling for the first half, the bench carried the load to the finish. They got contributions from everywhere in this win, and, if they’re going to be dealing with these injuries for a while, this is how it’s going to have to be every night.

Stat Leaders

Points: Will Barton - 31

Assists: Nikola Jokic - 8

Rebounds: Plumlee - 15

Player of the Game: Malik Beasley 25 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 assist, 9-of-15, 5-of-9 3-point, 4-of-4 free throw