Nuggets Comeback to Defeat Warriors, Remain Undefeated

The Denver Nuggets scored their most impressive win of the season, overcoming a double-digit deficit to down the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors 100-98 on the second night of back-to-back without the services of starting small forward Will Barton Sunday night.

Denver trailed by as many as 12 in the first quarter and was down two at the half, but seized control of the game in the third quarter. Sparked by Gary Harris, who scored 11 in the frame, the Nuggets outscored the Warriors by a dozen to take a 10-point lead into the fourth and held on despite Golden State’s best effort to move to 3-0 on the season.

“It’s all about matchups in the NBA whether it’s 1-on-1 or a team,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “And, for some reason, we match up well with them.

The Warriors tied the game at 97 with 1:29 on a dunk from former Nugget Andre Iguodala but Denver never folded, sealing the victory on a block by reserve Juancho Hernangomez on Warriors big man Damian Jones as the final buzzer sounded.

Less than 24 hours after center Nikola Jokic became just the second player in NBA history to record a 30-point triple-double without missing a shot, Harris led the way with 28 points on 10-for-17 shooting, three rebounds and an assist.

Jokic went for a double-double, scoring 23 points while grabbing 11 rebounds to go along with six assists. Mason Plumlee was the only other Nugget who finished in double-figures in scoring, adding 11 points and snatching down a couple boards in 16 minutes off the bench.

Former two-way player Torrey Craig,started in the place of Barton, who suffered a right hip injury early in the third quarter in a win against the Phoenix Suns Saturday. Craig finished with five points and added nine rebounds in a season-high 27 minutes.

“This is a collective win,” Malone said. “This is a win for Will Barton. This is a win for our fans. Two nights in a row, they were unbelieveable. I hope they keep on coming out.”

The victory was the Nuggets’ second straight against the Warriors after defeating them back on Feb. 3 to split the 2017-18 season series.

“To beat a team like that, there’s gotta be a belief,” Malone said. “We’ve beaten them enough times now, where we believe. When we play them, we’re not thinking about the banners and the rings.”

Two-time league MVP Warriors guard Stephen Curry led all scorers with 30 points. Kevin Durant added 20. Klay Thompson scored 15 and Iguodala chipped in 10 in the loss.

Denver held Golden State to 7 of 29 shooting from 3-point range (24.1 percent) and outrebounded the Warriors 46-40 while the turnover battle 18-8 to hold its opposition to under 100 points for the third consecutive time this season.

The Nuggets play host the to the Sacramento Kings Tuesday at 7 pm. That game will be aired at 7 p.m. MT on Altitude TV and streamed on AltitudeNOW.

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