The Warriors erased an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter but couldn’t quite close it out on Sunday in a 126-121 loss in Denver. Despite the loss, the Warriors still hold a 3-1 lead in the first-round playoff series, and the Dubs will look to close it out in Game 5 at home on Wednesday.
Stephen Curry gave the Warriors a lead with a 22-foot step-back jumper with 1:21 left in the game, but the Nuggets responded with seven straight points, capped by a game-sealing Will Barton 3-pointer from the corner with 8.3 seconds left.
The loss spoiled big games from the Splash Brothers, as Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 65 points. Andrew Wiggins added 20 points and Draymond Green logged 13 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and two steals before fouling out with 2:05 left in the game.
Reigning MVP Nikola Jokic had 18 of his 37 points in the first quarter for the Nuggets, who also got big-time contributions from Aaron Gordon (21 points), Monte Morris (24), Bones Hyland (15) and DeMarcus Cousins.
DENVER OUT-SPLASHES THE DUBS
Barton’s game-icing three was the 15th splash of the game for the Nuggets, who shot 56 percent from the floor and 48 percent from distance. Monte Morris knocked down five 3-pointers in the third period, Bones Hyland added three treys in the second quarter and Jokic knocked down three of his five 3-point attempts.
For the Warriors, Thompson made his first five 3-point attempts and didn’t miss a three until the fourth quarter. He finished with seven made threes for 32 points, and Curry made three triples, including one in the fourth quarter that ignited a four-point play. Despite the Curry and Thompson doing work, the Nuggets still made three more 3-pointers – on three fewer attempts – than the Warriors.
FOUL TROUBLE DOOMS DUBS
Thompson started the game hot but battled foul trouble for the entire game. After hitting two early 3-pointers, he went to the bench with two fouls four minutes into the game. Buoyed by Thompson’s hot start, the Dubs were ahead 13-6 early, but Denver soon took the lead back with Thompson on the bench. Denver would stretch their lead to 17 points, and the Dubs’ were dealt another blow when Thompson was called for an offensive foul in the final second of the first half, his fourth foul of the game.
Despite the foul trouble, Thompson came through with 13 of his 32 points in the third quarter in which he made all three of his 3-point attempts.
In addition to Thompson, Draymond Green played a lot of the game in foul trouble before being disqualified with his sixth foul with 2:05 left in the game. With Green on the bench, the Nuggets, who went 29-for-36 on free throws, closed the game on a 7-0 run to win their first game of the series.
CURRY LEADS COMEBACK ATTEMPT
After struggling to make shots in the first half, Curry, who once again came off the bench as has all series as the team looks to manage his minutes coming back from his foot injury, finished strong. He scored 15 of his team-high 33 points in the fourth quarter, and he scored or assisted on 22 of the team’s 32 points in the period. Even though Curry missed four free throws in the game – the first time that’s ever happened to him – Curry made all four of his free throw attempts in the fourth quarter to keep the Warriors in the game.
TURNOVERS STALL INITIAL WARRIORS COMEBACK
After a Bones Hyland 3-point spree gave the Nuggets a 17-point lead in the second quarter – Denver’s biggest advantage of the series – the Warriors began to chip away at their deficit. Rookie Jonathan Kuminga played his first non-garbage time minutes of the series and used his speed and athleticism to positively affect the game for the Dubs with nine points in 11 minutes. But after the Dubs had cut their deficit down to eight with a 17-8 run in the second quarter, three Warriors turnovers in a span of four possessions were taken advantage of by the Nuggets, who stretched their lead back to 15 points with three minutes left in the half. The Warriors had 17 turnovers for the game, leading to 30 points for the Nuggets.
GAME 5 SET FOR WEDNESDAY
The Warriors opened the series with consecutive home wins, and after splitting a pair on the road, the Dubs will head back to Chase Center for Game 5 on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Tickets are available now for the potential close-out game, and all fans in attendance will receive a Warriors Gold Blooded T-Shirt, courtesy of CarMax.
More Notables ...
- The Warriors are now 31-27 all-time in Game 4s, including 13-8 dating back to the 2015 playoffs.
- Golden State hot 50 percent-or-better from the field for the fourth consecutive game, matching the longest streak in Warriors postseason history (four times).
- The Warriors are now 42-24 all-time in series-clinching games (18-8 dating back to 2015)… The Nuggets are 8-3 in playoff elimination games dating back to 2016.
- Golden State is 2-3 all-time in playoff games played in Denver.
- The Warriors allowed the Nuggets to score 30 points off 17 turnovers… During the regular season, the most points scored off of Warriors turnovers was 29, twice.
- Golden State is 2-3 all-time in playoff games played in Denver.
- Tonight marked the most points the Warriors have surrendered to the Nuggets in the postseason all-time (prev. 117 at DEN 4/23/13).
- Draymond Green recorded his first double-double of the current postseason and the 56th of his playoff career… Tonight marked his second double-figure scoring output of the playoffs… His two steals tied him with Michael Cooper (203 career playoff steals) for 28th on the NBA Playoffs all-time steals list.
- Stephen Curry posted a team-high 33 points, his second 30-plus point outing of this postseason and his 42nd career postseason game with 30-or-more points… Curry passed Manu Ginobili (3,054) for sole possession of 25th on the NBA’s all-time playoff scoring list… He went 10-of-14 from the free throw line, missing four free throws for the first time in his career, regular season or playoffs (Elias Sports Bureau)... He has made at least one 3-pointer in each of the last four playoff games, extending his NBA Playoff record 3-point streak to 116 consecutive games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
- Klay Thompson tallied a 2022 playoff-high 32 points, his 14th career playoff game of 30-plus points... He has scored 20-or-more in three-straight games… His seven threes are the most he has made during this postseason in a single game.
- Andrew Wiggins recorded 20 points, matching his playoff-career high (4/21/18 vs. HOU), and recorded playoff career-highs in steals (2) and blocks (2).