Warriors lose nail-biter to champion Denver Nuggets


DENVER — The Warriors had the odds stacked against them, but Wednesday’s game came down to their final possession. Down two points with seven seconds remaining, Steph Curry missed the game-tying driving layup leading to Golden State’s eventual 108-105 loss to the Denver Nuggets.

Curry had the ball at the top of the arc with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope right on him, but Curry broke free of his tough defender and got to the rim for a difficult left-hand underhanded layup that bounced off the rim.

“(Caldwell-Pope) is probably expecting me to step back, I’ve hit some of those last year in (one-on-one) situations,” Curry said. “Once I got by him, I like the shot I took. Not afraid of taking it, not afraid of what happens.”

The Warriors could have let this game slip away. They were down two key defenders in Draymond Green and Gary Payton II and a mile high against the reigning champions on the final game of a four-game road trip that capped off an arduous start to the year in which they played seven of their first nine games away from home.

“It was a hell of a fight,” Kerr said. “Tough way to finish, but couldn’t be more proud of them and more excited about our team.”

Rookies Trayce Jackson-Davis and Brandin Podziemski seamlessly filled the gaps in Green and Payton’s absence to make it a game. Jackson-Davis finished with eight points and two rebounds, finishing a plus-4 in on-off rating. Podziemski had five points, three rebounds and two assists.

With Green out, Jackson-Davis got in some reps defending MVP center Nikola Jokic, who had 35 points.

“It’s valuable, especially early in the season,” Jackson-Davis said. “Playing against Joker, one of the best in the world right now, he’s really good. So that’s also valuable…He does some things I used to do in college with spinoffs, but he has excellent touch around the rim, but he’s a force.”

The turning point appeared to be a four-point swing mid-way through the fourth quarter in Denver’s favor sparked by a missed goaltending call on Curry’s layup that Aaron Gordon hit off the backboard.

“It was definitely goaltending. Missed it. Keep playing,” Curry said.

Seconds later, Caldwell-Pope was granted a goaltend on his layup attempt that Trayce Jackson-Davis similarly hit off the backboard to put the Nuggets up four.

“The non-goaltended call, it hurts,” Kerr said. “But I’m used to it. Honestly, it’s a difficult call to make. It happens, bang, bang and it seems like, last year, four or five of those. It’s going to happen this year, too.”

Curry finished with a team-high 23 points; all six of his field goal makes were from beyond the arc. Klay Thompson had 15 points, Andrew Wiggins had 11 points and Moses Moody and Jonathan Kuminga had 10 points.

The Warriors went 2-2 on this four-game road trip, are 5-2 on the road, and now head home to play the Cavaliers, who beat them in Cleveland on Sunday. Then they take on the Minnesota Timberwolves and Oklahoma City Thunder in a pair of two-game series at home.


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