Following the end of their five-game winning streak, the Denver Nuggets (19-18) headed west to California to face the Golden State Warriors (25-14) for the second time this season. The Nuggets lost the first meeting back in December that fell in the midst of Denver’s eight-game losing streak.
Andre Iguodala was a complete non-factor for the Warriors on both ends of the floor in the first quarter. Wilson Chandler was able to score at will against the former Nugget and finished with 12 points in the quarter, while Iggy held a goose egg.
Meanwhile, Randy Foye continued his hot-shooting in the month of January as he scored 18 points in the first half on 7 of 9 shooting, including 3 of 5 from 3-point range. The last seven games have been a complete revelation for Foye as he has averaged 16.5 points per contest thus far in 2014 on .506 shooting overall and .456 from three.
Foye averaged 10 points per game in the month of November and 7.2 points per game in December. Which makes it look like Foye has finally started to deliver on his end of why Denver signed him in the offseason.
Prior to the game, Ty Lawson issued a challenge to his teammates to bring their A-game against the Warriors:
“We have to win. It’s going to be a big game for us on Wednesday. I hope everyone comes ready to play, because I’m not trying to go back to .500 and trying to build our way back up when we’re right here, right now.”
The Nuggets responded to Lawson’s throwing down of the gauntlet by shooting 61.9% in the first half and possessed a 65-58 lead over Golden State. Additionally, Denver held a 19-6 fastbreak advantage over the Warriors, continuing the trend that when this team plays a faster pace, it tends to have a better chance of success. In their first meeting, the Warriors held a 47-43 advantage at halftime. It’s safe to say that Lawson was motivated to get a win over Iggy after he left him hanging in Denver last summer.
— Ty Lawson (@TyLawson3) July 5, 2013
Steph Curry and Klay Thompson have been nicknamed the “Splash Brothers” for their 3-point shooting ways and they combined for 24 points in the first half. The Nuggets backcourt of Lawson and Foye combined for 27 of their own. Lawson continues to play at an All-Star level, but is a long-shot to make the cut.
Both teams came out of the locker room with sloppy play to begin the second half. The Nuggets had a trio of turnovers and both teams missed 8 combined shots in the first three-plus minutes of the quarter. Denver started the third quarter off 1 of 7 from the field in the first five minutes of play and the Warriors made it a one point game. Chandler made a pair of free throws and followed it up with a 3-pointer to get the Nuggets lead back up to six at 72-66. Iguodala continued to struggle to provide cover on Chandler as well as to get his own offensive game going as he only had 3 points in this game.
Curry and Harrison Barnes started to go to work for Golden State and contributed to a tie game at 80. JJ Hickson, Nate Robinson and Evan Fournier led the Denver charge and finished out the quarter on an 11-2 run, including a halfcourt buzzer beater from Fournier. Hickson provided a presence on the glass for Denver in this game with 18 rebounds in the first three quarters. The Nuggets held a 91-82 lead going into the final frame.
The fourth quarter began with Curry and Lawson trading 3-pointers. Draymond Green used a three-point play followed by a 3-pointer as part of an 11-2 run that cut the Denver lead to 94-93 with 9:12 left in the game. Foye and Robinson answered the challenge and combined for three straight 3-pointers. This prompted a Warriors timeout with 7:46 to go and a 103-95 Nuggets lead.
Robinson continued his fourth quarter takeover with 14 of Denver’s 32 fourth quarter points. Hickson finished with 13 points and a career-high 24 rebounds, plus a key offensive rebound with 24.9 seconds left in the game that sealed the deal. The Nuggets win a high-scoring affair 123-116.
The Nuggets had four players finish with 20-plus points in Chandler (22), Foye (21), Lawson (22) and Robinson (24). Those players combined for 89 points in Wednesday night’s victory.
Golden State had gone 9-1 since the first meeting of these teams, while the Nuggets went 5-5. With this victory, Denver has now won five games against teams over .500 (Atlanta, Oklahoma City, Golden State and 2 against Dallas). This win is very easily the signature win that this Nuggets team has been seeking all season long.