Reactions: Warriors 106, Nuggets 105
|David Lee, PF 35 MIN | 13-15 FG | 5-7 FT | 9 REB | 6 AST | 31 PTS | -6
Forget this month, last season, or even his time as a Warrior – this might have been the best offensive night of David Lee’s NBA career. He had it all working tonight, scoring on post-ups with either hand, jumpers, and in transition. The typical defensive flaws were there, but this was as near-perfect a performance on the other end as there’s been all season. Fantastic game for Lee, and a showcase of his considerable weapons as a playmaker.
|Harrison Barnes, SF 17 MIN | 1-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 2 PTS | -5
Barnes got off to a slow start tonight and Mark Jackson took notice, limiting the rookie to the second fewest minutes he’s played all season. He still made his mark in the end, though, coming in cold to guard the in-bounds pass on the game’s second-to-last possession and forcing an errant pass.
|Festus Ezeli, C 15 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -1
This wasn’t a game for a player like Ezeli, one played at a frenetic pace dominated by ultra small-ball. But he was extremely active in his limited playing time, getting his hands on the ball defensively and making his presence known early.
|Stephen Curry, SG 45 MIN | 7-17 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 10 AST | 20 PTS | +2
Quick, who leads the league in clutch scoring? Curry might be your last guess given his shooting struggles so far this season, but you’d be wrong and certainly saw why tonight. He keyed the Warriors late third quarter run with pace and energy before shouldering the scoring load in the fourth quarter, where he scored 10 crucial points. When Curry’s active and hitting shots like this, he’s one of the league’s most dynamic performers. Here’s hoping this recent trend continues.
|Klay Thompson, SG 43 MIN | 10-19 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 3 AST | 21 PTS | +1
It’s a sight to behold when both of the Warriors’ backcourt starters are firing on all cylinders, and that was the case for the game’s final third. Thompson got off to a hot start tonight but tailed off toward halftime, saving his best for last. He scored six straight points in the third quarter to keep the score close and five more in the fourth to cut the deficit to a single possession. He was typically game on defense, too, and added nine huge rebounds. Great all-around performance from the sophomore.
|Carl Landry, PF 30 MIN | 2-7 FG | 2-3 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 6 PTS | +4
Landry didn’t light up the box score tonight like he has for most of this season, as he was bothered inside by Denver’s length and athleticism. But it’s no surprise that the Warriors’ third quarter run came with him on the floor, as his energy and relentlessness proved contagious.
|Jarrett Jack, PG 29 MIN | 7-14 FG | 1-1 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 18 PTS | +11
If Lee is Batman and Curry and Lee his Robins, Jack was Golden State’s Commissioner Gordon tonight. Always in control and never hurried, he helped build the Warriors’ early lead and helped them get over the hump late. He had four points and three assists in the game’s final stanza, and – one pull-up, air-ball not withstanding – made good decisions with the ball in his hands late. The three-guard lineup is this team’s offensive security blanket, and Jack’s measured, consistent play is the reason why. Simply, Golden State doesn’t win this game without him.
Two Things We Saw
- This game was crazy. Absolutely crazy. The Warriors had a double-digit lead in the first quarter, Denver led by 16 in the third quarter, and the game’s final seconds contained multiple video reviews and a would-be game-winning three-pointer from Andre Iguodala if the ball hadn’t been touching his fingertips as time expired. This is the type of win teams talk about when defining a season. If the Warriors make good on optimistic preseason playoff predictions, we’ll definitely come back to this one.
- Danilo Gallinari is Denver’s most versatile player, Ty Lawson their best offensive weapon, and Andre Iguodala perhaps the Nuggets’ best overall performer, but no player embodies the team’s style quite like Kenneth Faried. “Manimal” was everywhere tonight, notching a couple from-nowhere chase-down blocks and challenging every shot within jumping distance. And to think, he had just 10 points and seven rebounds.