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Recap: Denver Nuggets get upset by Golden State Warriors

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Golden State Warriors v Denver Nuggets (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors got the game with the Denver Nuggets started off with an easy dunk from Marquese Chriss. Paul Millsap was fouled on the other end, but he missed both of his free throw attempts, and the Warriors capitalized with a 3-point make on the other end. After a Denver turnover, the Warriors hit another 3-point bucket with under two minutes off the clock to go up 8-0. After drawing a foul on Chriss, Jokic got the scoring going with a pair of free throws.

The two sides were trading misses back and forth, and Denver couldn’t anything to go down. Despite multiple offensive rebounds they were 0-of-7 from the field four minutes into the game. Denver got their first “bucket” to fall when Golden State was called for goaltending. Thanks to some outstanding passing, Jokic got another bucket on the next possession which gave him six points and seven rebounds through the first five minutes en route to the first TV timeout.

Golden State nailed another triple coming out of the timeout, which is exactly how they caused trouble for Denver in their first matchup. Following a layup by Gary Harris, Golden State made another 3-point shot, and their lead was now 15-8. After a moving screen was called on the Warriors, Will Barton got into the lane where he made the bucket and the free throw for the 3-point play.

The two sides were trading baskets back and forth before Michael Porter Jr. hit a 3-point shot to bring Denver within two with a little over 2:30 remaining. Golden State converted a technical free throw that gave them a 3-point lead before Mason Plumlee converted a big dunk. After a Jordan Poole 3-point shot was made, Jerami Grant knocked down one of his own with 45 seconds to go. Grant missed an open 3-point shot, and they ended the first quarter down 26-25.

Coming out of the quarter break, Plumlee went 1-of-2 at the free throw line to tie the game before Andrew Wiggins made an easy layup off of a spin move. Tied at 28, Plumlee tipped in the miss from Porter that gave them their first lead of the game. Jamal Murray put in a big dunk that gave Denver a two-point lead and forced a timeout out of the Warriors.

Out of the timeout, the two sides traded misses before Harris nailed a shot at the basket, but Dragan Bender immediately cut back into the lead with a triple. Up by one, Denver was called for another defensive technical, and the Warriors were able to tie it up. After the Warriors failed to convert a 3-on-2 opportunity, they quickly got back to convert one of their own with a big dunk from Murray. Denver scored following a turnover on a bucket from Barton, and the Warriors took another timeout to kill the run.

After a miss by Golden State, Murray finished an acrobatic layup through some contact that would send him to the line for one which he would convert. Steve Kerr was called for a technical foul, and it was very possible that he would be earning another one before the night was over. After allowing a 10-0 run, Wiggins got a bucket to go down that brought them within six.

The two sides traded makes and misses before Murray went hurdling to the rim where he was fouled, but he made both of his free throws to go up 54-46 with 2:00 remaining. Up by 10 with a minute remaining, Paul Millsap nailed a fallaway jumper that put them up by 12, but they gave up a 3-point shot on the next possession that killed their run. Golden State would miss their final bucket, and the score at the half was 58-49 in favor of Denver.

Millsap converted a 3-point play after being fouled, and he went 1-of-2 on a pair of free throws on the next possession. After giving up a couple of baskets to the Warriors, Millsap got a basket to fall that put them up by 13 before Golden State made another 3-point shot to bring them within 10. After getting up by 14, Wiggins hit another triple to bring them within 11, and the Nuggets just couldn’t stop the 3-point shooting of the Warriors.

Every time Denver would get a basket, the Warriors were matching them to keep the lead from growing larger than 11. Denver had gotten up by 12, but the Warriors nailed back-to-back shots which brought them within seven. Denver got one more bucket, but the Warriors were steadily fighting back, and they were within three with just two minutes to go. Denver’s offense remained cold, and Poole banked in a long 3-point shot to tie the game at 79. Morris finally knocked the ice off with a mid-range jumper, but Poole nailed a triple at the bucket that gave them an 82-81 lead entering the final period.

Golden State nailed a 3-point shot to start the quarter which extended their lead to four, and Denver just couldn’t stop Golden State on the offensive end. Murray missed an easy floater, but the Warriors were unable to capitalize on the miss. Wiggins nailed a bucket in the face of Murray to give them a six-point lead that felt much bigger than six with the run they were on.

Following a miss by Bender, Denver got back in transition to get themselves within four which finally ended that long run. The two sides traded makes with a large portion of Denver’s points coming from Plumlee. They got themselves within three before Poole went 1-of-2 at the line with 8:00 remaining. The Warriors got an easy bucket on their next possession, and Michael Malone called a quick timeout.

Denver turned the ball over immediately out of the timeout, but they got a steal which led to a basket from Barton to bring them within four. With 6:10 remaining, Golden State got a 3-point shot to fall, and Denver was unable to answer. Jokic went to work following a Golden State turnover, and he got an easy basket to go down. However, they were still down by five.

Eric Paschall knocked down a shot with 5:00 minutes remaining, and Millsap was called for an offensive foul on the other end of the floor. The momentum was against them, and it was not stopping with another basket by Paschall. Following a Denver timeout, they turned the ball over, and the Warriors got an easy basket that gave them an 11-point lead with 4:15 to go.

Millsap was called for a blocking foul, and the Warriors converted both of their free throws to go up by 13. Wiggins went 1-of-2 to make it 14 before a fast-break layup on a turnover all but sealed the game with 3:02 remaining. Out of the timeout, Harris converted a layup that got them within 14, but Denver still had a lot of ground to makeup. They went to work with intentional fouls on Chriss, who went 2-of-2 at the line.

Barton missed his chance to match on the other end, and Golden State was just salting the game away with offensive rebounds taking time off of the clock. Millsap made a pair of free throws, but they had effectively let the game go by pulling Jokic with 2:00 minutes remaining. The Warriors made one of their two free throws, and Barton airballed a shot before Millsap saved it to feed him for a layup.

Up by 13, Chriss slammed home a huge dunk before Millsap cashed a bucket on the other end. Denver turned the ball over again, and they had completely emptied the bench outside of Barton. Morris suffered an ankle injury late in the game, and, to add insult to injury, Golden State nailed their 18th 3-point shot of the night which was 15 more than Denver made on the night.

This was a terrible loss for Denver, and they were in a big letdown spot after the win over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday. These are games they can’t afford to drop in a tight Western Conference race. They have a big matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks next week, and they’ll want to win both of their easier matchups this week to keep pace.

Stat Leaders

Points: Will Barton & Paul Millsap - 18

Assists: Nikola Jokic - 7

Rebounds: Jokic - 13

Player of the Game: Mason Plumlee - 16 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 7-of-8 field goals, 2-of-4 free throws