In a preseason matchup that saw both teams playing their starters for most of the first three quarters, the Nuggets showed that they have the talent and determination to hang with anybody in this league. The Warriors came out with all of the swag and confidence of a team that just won an NBA championship, hitting pull-up threes and making incredible plays in the half court.

Early in the first quarter, Steph Curry ripped the ball right out of Emmanuel Mudiay’s hands and finished a 16-foot floater in Mudiay’s eye on the other end giving the Warriors an early 8-2 lead. The Warriors would continue to make big, momentum building plays throughout the first quarter but for every punch the Warriors threw, the Nuggets had an answer, cutting the lead to just four points at the end of the 1st.

The reserves kept the game close for the early part of the 2nd quarter and when the starters came back in with just over 7 minutes to go, they managed to turn a 5-point deficit into a 4-point lead going into the half. They would never look back.

The Nuggets really tightened up their defense in the 3rd quarter and held the Warriors to just 17 points. The lead ballooned to 16 entering the 4th behind 12 3rd-quarter points by Kenneth Faried. The 4th quarter was mostly a formality as both teams went to their benches.

Kenneth Faried

The Manimal looked like his old self tonight, scoring on cuts to the rim, offensive putbacks, and even knocking down a handful of mid-range jumpers. He had the full repertoire going tonight on offense but it was his unmatched hustle and effort on both ends that set him apart. Faried finished every single play with all out effort and managed to be effective on defense even though he was often placed in the center spot, guarding the larger Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli. The Nuggets only rarely ran plays through him and when he caught the ball on offense, it was usually for quick ball reversals at the free throw line. Nonetheless, Faried was able to have a huge impact on the offense by rolling hard to the rim and making quick, smart decisions on offense. It was probably the most impressive and encouraging game Faried has played in over a year.

Emmanuel Mudiay

It’s unfair that Mudiay has to guard so many great western conference point guards and tonight he got to try his hand at chasing around Steph Curry. But unlike the first preseason game against Chris Paul, Mudiay was able to remain in control for most of the game, keeping Curry in check and even guarding Draymond Green in the post on a few possessions, holding his own. Mudiay’s learning curve has been impressively steep through four preseason games and he has managed to cut his turnovers down from 15 in the first two games, to just 4 in the last two games. He’s clearly adjusted to playing more in control yet he is still finding spots to be aggressive, getting into the paint and finding cutters for nice assists around the basket.

Other Notes

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