The Golden State Warriors got buried under an avalanche of 3-pointers by the Denver Nuggets on Monday night in Colorado. Coming off an emotional victory in Oklahoma City on Sunday, and playing a third game in four nights, the road weary Warriors could muster little resistance to the Nugget’s offensive barrage. Denver scored 41 points and hit 7-of-11 from distance in the first quarter alone. Despite having only nine active players, the Nuggets’ makeshift lineup connected on 24 3-pointers in the contest to tie the NBA record for most made threes in a single game.
Golden State will have a chance to rebound from their ninth loss of the season with a game versus the Kings on Wednesday night, their final contest before the All-Star break.
Here are 10 thoughts on the game:
1. There is falling victim to your average NBA trap game and then there’s giving up 132 points to a sub.500 team missing four of its top players. Sure, the Warriors were coming off a brutal back-to-back set, and yes, they were without four of their own guys, and I suppose the elevation doesn’t help, but that doesn’t explain getting absolutely smoked by the eighth-seeded Nuggets. The Dubs’ defense on the perimeter was porous all night, and their offense could never get going until the kiddie corp jumped in to start the fourth. It was a let down performance from the start, but as Steve Kerr said post game, it was probably a bit predictable given the circumstances.
2. JaVale McGee had no chance versus Nikola Jokic. The Joker basically tossed McGee aside for offensive rebounds and in transition, somehow managed to outrun JaVale’s gazelle-like strides. Jokic had a career night, dropping a 17-21-12 triple-double in the Nugget win.
3. Curry shot a miserable 4-of-18 for 11 points (including 1-of-11 from 3s). You know he’s off when he’s air balling 3s from the corner. (And we’re not going to mention he got beat backdoor twice in the first quarter, just like he got beat backdoor twice in OKC.) After a incendiary January and early February, the back-to-back MVP has fallen down to earth a bit the last four games averaging 17 points and shooting 8-of-32 from distance.
4. One bright spot from the drubbing was the effort from the bench, which managed to trim the deficit to nine points with over seven minutes remaining. Ian Clark found his stroke scoring 18 points on 8-of-15 shooting, and Patrick McCaw looked aggressive offensively early in the fourth. For the game, the rookie dropped 19 points and showed signs of life with the ball.
5. This play perfectly sums up the Warriors’ dismal night: Pass off a guy’s head one way, lackadaisical defense leading to an open dunk going the other.
6. Jokic is going to give Karl-Anthony Towns and Kristaps Porzingis a run for their money for best up-and-coming big man. All three are barely legal drinking age, yet each is going be the face of their franchise, if they aren’t already. Jokic, however, might be the most fun to watch right now. He can bang in the paint but has a deft touch around the rim; his jumper is smooth and extends to the 3-point line (36%); and the man is an absolute savant passing the ball. In one play that signals the brilliance to come, Jokic grabbed the rebound, brought the ball up court himself and dropped a beautiful bounce pass to Jameer Nelson for the easy basket. The guy is 6′ 11″ and just turned 22. Yikes!
7. Kevin Durant, the Warrior with the best excuse to have an off game, was the one guy that actually played as you’d expect. KD had an efficient 25 points on 16 shots but finished with a minus-23 with the rest of his squad firing blanks.
8. Juancho Hernangomez (you’re not alone if you weren’t sure which Hernangomez played in Denver and which in New York) averaged fewer than four points before the game. Dude scored 27 in 43 minutes of burn and looked smooth doing it.
9. Seeing “O’bryant” on the back of a basketball jersey gave me flashbacks of less wonderful times of Warriors fandom.
10. The Dubs have shown a propensity to get rocked. The Spurs, Lakers, Grizzlies, and now the Nuggets have all blown out the Warriors. Is that something that should worry you as a fan? Only if you think 46-9, best record in the league, four All-NBA players, and a coaching staff that’s playing for the championship not February wins is something to worry about.