DENVER, Colo. — The 17,569 in attendance Thursday night at Pepsi Center to watch the Denver Nuggets battle the Golden State Warriors are still trying to lift their jaws up off the ground after the final buzzer sounded signaling a 125-101 Warriors victory.
2015-16 unanimous MVP Stephen Curry put on a show the Nuggets will not forget anytime soon. Curry finished with 30 points on 10-17 shooting including 7-13 from three, five rebounds and seven assists, all on a sore right ankle.
It was all Warriors from the tip tonight, as Golden State jumped out to a 38-19 after the first quarter, one which the Nuggets were able to trim to 14 by halftime. However, to start the third, a quarter in which the Nuggets have fared well in so far this season, Golden State went on a 22-9 run and never looked back.
“Just disappointed in how we came out to start the game,” coach Michael Malone said. “Whether it’s a five-game road trip hangover or not, just didn’t seem like we had much energy, much juice to us in that first quarter.”
“We dug ourselves a pretty big hole,” Malone continued. “Turnovers once again continue to be an ongoing issue. 19 tonight.”
The Nuggets who came into tonight leading the league in turnovers at 18.4 per game, continued that trend against the Warriors. Emmanuel Mudiay had three turnovers, all coming in the first quarter, Jusuf Nurkic four and Jamal Murray had three to his credit.
Golden State’s third-quarter run which put the game away was highlighted by multiple Curry-patented three’s which shifted the Warriors’ free-flowing basketball machine in top gear. Curry tweaked his ankle Wednesday night in Golden State’s win over Dallas and his status was up in the air in Denver, but you wouldn’t have known that watching the reigning MVP tonight. Curry looked himself for the entire 30 minutes he spent on the court.
As the Warriors margin extended to 15 and then 20 points, Malone was able to get his three rookies significant playing time. Murray, Juancho Hernangomez, and Malik Beasley played 29, 30, and 15 minutes respectively.
“The one positive I’m taking out of this was, Jamal Murray, Malik Beasley, Juancho,” Malone said. “I thought [Hernangomez’s] defense was really good on Kevin Durant.”
Murray finished with 14 points on 5-15 shooting, Beasley scored 12 points on 5-10 from the field and Hernangomez notched 11 on his own.
“A, he had nine rebounds, so I tip my hat to him for getting nine boards,” Malones said of Hernangomez. “Juancho is a competitor, he’s a hard worker and he made Kevin Durant feel him. Kevin Durant is one of the top five players in the world, but I thought Juancho had great discipline to stay down on his shot fakes and he’s got really good length and I thought his length was effective against KD.”
“He’s one of the best players in the world,” Hernangomez said of Durant. “I feel really proud. I’m really sorry because in 23 games straight he made more than 20 points, I’m sorry for him. But they win, so he’s happy, but we lose, so we are sad.”
Elsewhere for the Nuggets, Danilo Gallinari scored 11 points on just 2-9 shooting, Jusuf Nurkic scored nine points but played just 17 minutes. Emmanuel Mudiay finished with ten points but on 4-15 shooting from the field, and Gary Harris played just 18 minutes and scored 11 points.
Denver drops to 3-5 on the season and 0-2 at home.
Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado | November 10, 2016 | Game No. 8
NUGGETS STAR OF THE GAME
Beasley’s game-high 12 points highlighted what was otherwise a dismal night for the Denver offense. Beasley played the most minutes he had all year and may be in for a boost in playing time against Detroit Saturday if Wilson Chandler remains out of the lineup with a sore hamstring and Will Barton works to get back from an ankle injury.
BY THE NUMBERS
QUOTE OF THE GAME
Malone on energy:
“Detroit will come in here on a back-to-back as well. Golden State got to the hotel at 4 AM last night. There’s no way they should have more energy than we do to start the game and we’ll have another opportunity to get our first home win against Detroit in a couple days.”
Denver hosts Detroit Saturday before getting back on the road. They’ll visit Portland Sunday on a back-to-back before returning home four a four-game stretch against Phoenix, Toronto, Utah, and Chicago.