Reactions: Nuggets 102, Warriors 91
|David Lee, PF 35 MIN | 9-19 FG | 3-4 FT | 10 REB | 3 AST | 21 PTS | -17
Sometimes forced to guard Danilo Gallinari because Denver played small, Lee’s defensive shortcomings were painfully obvious all game long. As bad as it was watching him try and contain The Rooster off the dribble, it was worse seeing Lee fail repeatedly in pick-and-roll coverage and lose his place in Golden State’s second quarter 3-2 zone. He was good for the most part offensively and made some tough shots, but could have been better on the glass as well.
|Harrison Barnes, SF 15 MIN | 1-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | 0
Here’s how the game’s second, third, and fourth possessions went – Barnes turnover, Barnes shooting foul, and Barnes forced/missed shot. Unfortunately it was a sign of things to come, too, as the rookie was in foul trouble all night and failed to build on the success of his last few games. With his confidence growing, this is definitely one Barnes needs to forget. One bright spot: an awesome one-dribble, two-footed, baseline dunk from the post with the game out of reach.
|Festus Ezeli, C 18 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-2 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -5
Denver is one of the league’s better rebounding teams, and the Warriors final edge on the glass has much to do with the play of Ezeli. He was extremely active in the paint on defense, consistently keeping the ball alive and challenging shots with aplomb. Next step, offense.
|Stephen Curry, SG 26 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 6 PTS | -18
This easily counts as one of Curry’s worst games as a professional, and surely does for his entire playing career, too. He was not only held scoreless in the game’s first half but failed to register a shot attempt, a feat made more amazing by Golden State’s efficiency before the third quarter began. Curry was in foul trouble early and had trouble containing Ty Lawson all night long, and committed four turnovers to boot. There’s no easy way to put this – a performance like this one is unacceptable from a player of Curry’s reputed caliber.
|Klay Thompson, SG 36 MIN | 6-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 16 PTS | -15
Thompson might have played the best half of his NBA career in the game’s opening stanza. He scored all of his points before intermission on an array of three-pointers (wide open, contested, off-dribble, catch-and-shoot) and made several plays for himself and teammates by penetrating. He was poked in the eye on the first possession of the second half and briefly forced to leave, an unfortunate harbinger. Thompson forced Andre Iguodala into tough shots for the most part, too, but must get more consistent. A tale of two halves if there ever was one.
|Carl Landry, PF 30 MIN | 6-11 FG | 7-8 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 19 PTS | 0
When should it stop surprising that Landry is Golden State’s best player? Denver had no answer for him on defense, as the Warriors’ super-sub scored easily in isolation post-ups and was a terror on the offensive glass. He scored six straight points in the third quarter to try and quell the Nuggets big run on three athletic drives and finishes, and did a better job defending Gallinari than one would suspect. Landry was the lone consistent bright spot for GS in an extremely unbalanced overall performance.
|Charles Jenkins, PG 12 MIN | 4-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 8 PTS | +2
Jenkins got more run than he has all season tonight due to Curry’s foul trouble and made the most of his opportunity. He hit several open jumpers and moved the ball well offensively, but really struggled to stay in front of Lawson on the other end. Who doesn’t?
|Jarrett Jack, PG 35 MIN | 7-16 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 4 AST | 17 PTS | -2
Jack was a major factor in the Warriors impressive first half, scoring 10 points and consistently making the right decision on offense. He found Thompson for a couple easy buckets, hit several jumpers when his defender sagged, and mixed in a drive and finish or two. Jack didn’t find the same success in the final 24 minutes but was hardly the crux of Golden State’s problems offensively. On the other end, though? Like Curry and Jenkins before him, he couldn’t touch Lawson.
Two Things We Saw
- That the Warriors enjoyed such a fruitful first half offensively despite Curry’s disappearing act is a testament to the balance of this roster. Lee, Landry, and Jack were all extra productive, but the real savior was Thompson. He showed the varied, easy skillset of a number one scorer and appeared almost bored in the process, showing off his lightning quick release and a developing off-the-dribble game. If Golden State can ever get he, Curry, and Barnes clicking all at once, the sky is the limit for this offense.
- Andre Miller is so fun to watch. Denver went to him often in the post for repeated success, and he furthered the belief that he’s the league’ best lob thrower with an 85-foot, baseball-style heave to Corey Brewer that led to a JaVale McGee and-one dunk. In a league suddenly full of older thirty-somethings making a big impact, his seems likely the most enduring.