Exhausted and spent, the Nuggets didn’t have something left.
Enjoying their fourth recreation in 5 nights, sloppy, uncharacteristic errors undermined what had been a resilient effort – for 3 quarters. After a stretch of three beautiful video games, Nikola Jokic had little power remaining, and the Nuggets fell, 113-102, to the Warriors on Thursday night time.
“I’m not one to make excuses,” mentioned Nuggets coach Michael Malone, who was unwilling to quote fatigue after the defeat. As an alternative, he cited turnovers and defensive miscommunications.
Even within the loss, Jokic managed 23 factors, 12 rebounds and 9 assists.
Steph Curry took benefit of the nationwide TV highlight. He erupted for 34 factors, together with 24 within the second half to snap Denver’s four-game profitable streak. The Nuggets have been up 102-100 with 3:10 left earlier than going chilly in crunch time.
“We have been drained, man,” mentioned Monte Morris.
Their 13 turnovers for 26 Warriors factors have been magnified because the offense floor to a halt. The drained legs of the previous few days have been evident of their 7-of-31 taking pictures from past the 3-point line.
Even nonetheless, Malone beamed when he thought-about his group’s 12-3 file of their previous 15 video games.
“I’m so happy with our guys,” he mentioned.
Klay Thompson added 18 for Golden State, which knocked down 14 3-pointers on the night time.
Bones Hyland paced Denver’s bench unit, accounting for 10 of their 37 factors.
However the toll of the previous few days appeared to catch as much as the surging Nuggets.
A top quality defensive half from Austin Rivers on Curry wasn’t going to final eternally. Curry acquired unfastened for 18 within the third quarter alone to spearhead Golden State’s 37-point interval. He drove laborious and completed off the glass after which leaned extra on his weapon of alternative: his 3-pointer. After one devastating triple in opposition to Bryn Forbes, Curry danced on his means again up the courtroom.
His burst coincided with Jokic’s fourth foul, which despatched him to the bench early. However after a chilly first half from 3-point vary, the Nuggets hung round with 3-pointers from Morris, Aaron Gordon and Hyland. A late driving dunk from DeMarcus Cousins lit the group, as Denver headed to the ultimate quarter down 88-84.
The Nuggets left Sacramento late Wednesday night time earlier than the fast turnaround.
“Bought again round 3:00 within the morning, driving within the snow,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone mentioned. “I feel everyone in our journey social gathering in all probability acquired to mattress round 4:00-4:30 final night time by the point you get residence from the airport with the roads not being nice. So, right here we’re.”
Shiny eyed and bushy tailed?
“It’s what it’s, man,” Malone continued. “We are able to’t waste an oz. of power complaining about 4 [games] in 5 [nights]. That is 5 in seven. It’s all true, however now we have a recreation tonight at residence, and now we have to discover a method to go on the market and proceed to play on the degree we’ve been enjoying at. … We’ve discovered a method to beat this group 3 times this yr. We all know tonight would be the hardest recreation of the season.”
Regardless of drained legs and the grueling calls for of the current schedule, the Nuggets carried a 60-51 lead into halftime. Per typical, Jokic was on the coronary heart of the lead. He bullied his inside matchup for 16 factors, whereas nabbing 10 rebounds in 16 first-half minutes. As anticipated, Jokic pulled out a devilish array of publish strikes, together with his patented slow-motion Euro step.
After the latter, Zeke Nnaji, Davon Reed and Hyland all re-enacted the transfer from Denver’s bench.
However whereas Curry and Thompson had 10 factors every within the first half, the Nuggets maintained momentum because of their animated rookie. You couldn’t miss Hyland within the first half. If he wasn’t dancing on Warriors defender Jonathan Kuminga for a show-time layup, then he was hyping up the group ala Russell Crowe in Gladiator.
Hyland’s power was infectious. He discovered JaMychal Inexperienced on consecutive rim-rattling dunks then went at Curry, undeterred by the standing of his defender. Very like the Nuggets, Hyland was recreation for the primetime matchup.