By Andrew Montanye (@iDREWiT_uP)
The Denver Nuggets came into the game five and one in their last six games. When they left Oracle Arena, they were six and one in their last seven after downing the Golden State Warriors 123-116. On a night where the Warriors struggled to hit their shots like they are accustomed to doing, David Lee seemed to be leading a parade that would take the team to victory. Unfortunately, the Nuggets had something to say about that.
J.J. Hickson, Randy Foye, Nate Robinson, and Wilson Chandler all came up huge in this game for the Nuggets, who would ultimately win because of they profited of much better shooting, bench unit, and discipline down the stretch in yet another close game for the Warriors.
With under a minute left in the game, Hickson (13 points, 24 boards) grabbed his 23rd rebound of the game. That was the most important rebound of his season so far. The offensive rebound gave the Nuggets the ball again, who would eventually send Ty Lawson to the free throw line to put the Nuggets up 121-116. However, before this awfully executed box out by the small line-up of the Warriors, there was hope that they could win the game.
Shortly after Nate Robinson (24 points, three assists, four rebounds) had gone on a 12-point scoring streak of his own to put the Nuggets up 113-105, Steph Curry (24 points, seven assists, five rebounds) nailed home a three-pointer that sent a burst of life into the crowd at Oracle Arena. On the next two possessions, David Lee, and Klay Thompson would both bake baskets as well, bringing the game to within a point.
After Wilson Chandler put two more points back on the board for Denver after converting two free throws, David Lee found back-to-back possessions where he had the mismatch on Ty Lawson, and took him into the post, scoring on each possession. After The second possession where Lee converted two free throws of his own, the crowd was ready for the Warriors to mount another comeback.
Seeming poised to make a defensive stop, the Warriors allowed Hickson to slip off of a screen and make an easy lay-up. On their next possession, a fast break, Hickson smashed the ball home while Harrison Barnes committed a devastating foul. After Denver’s big man converted the free throw, the game was all but wrapped up.
The Dubs have now lost two of their last three, and will head to Oklahoma City on Friday night to take on the Russell Westbrook-less Thunder. Joining the club on Friday will be guards Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks who the Warriors acquired in a three-team trade with the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat.
Look for the Warriors to use their two new pieces who will be coming off of the bench to give more life to a second unit that has desperately needed a spark. The Warriors bench has ranked near the bottom of the league in production all season long, and has been a glaring issue to an otherwise overly capable team.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are 5-4 in their last nine games, and suffered a loss to the Utah Jazz in that stretch on a night when Kevin Durant scored 48 points. Look for the Warriors to come out of this game fired up after suffering yet another close defeat.