Best of 2013-14: Mozgov, Faried dominate Warriors

Nuggets big men team up to lead Denver past Golden State
by Aaron Lopez

When the 2013-14 NBA Most Improved Player was announced, Denver Nuggets center Timofey Mozgov was not among the 31 players who received at least one vote from 126 writers and broadcasters.

Perhaps they had already submitted their ballots by the time Mozgov took the court against the Golden State Warriors on April 10.

Running the floor and dominating the interior, Mozgov scored 23 points and grabbed a career-high (and NBA season-high) 29 rebounds in a 100-99 victory over the Warriors at Oracle Arena.

“He just did it all,” Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said after the game. “He scored for us, he rebounded, he patrolled the paint.”

The performance was the pinnacle of an impressive season for Mozgov, who moved into the starting lineup on Feb. 25 and never relinquished the spot. He averaged 9.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.22 blocks – all career highs – while being the only Denver player to appear in all 82 games.

Mozgov’s monster night in Oakland made the road win worthy of No. 2 on our countdown of Denver’s best games of 2013-14, but he wasn’t alone.

Kenneth Faried finished with 18 points and 17 rebounds, with his final two points coming on the game-winning jump hook with 0.5 seconds remaining. Randy Foye added 20 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

When Stephen Curry missed a long 3-pointer at the buzzer, Denver celebrated its largest comeback of the season. The Nuggets trailed by as many as 20 points in the second quarter.

“We just showed that we had the fight and the will to win,” Faried said.