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Nuggets stun Warriors 117-116 in a frustrating loss
The Dubs could use some rest and relaxation during this All-Star break.
If there was ever a two-and-a-half minute clip that exemplified the fears of Dub Nation, it came when the Golden State Warriors blew a 7-point lead late in the fourth quarter of a 117-116 loss to the Denver Nuggets.
You’ve got Nikola Jokic bullying his way through Kevon Looney to either score or find open players. He finished the game with 35 points, 17 rebounds and 8 assists, looking like a man among boys.
You’ve got Looney missing clutch free throws to let the Nuggets back in the game. He was 3-of-8 from the free throw line for the night. It was a tough evening for the Warriors’ lone healthy defensive-minded big man. It’s damn near impossible to guard Jokic 1v1, so if Loon isn’t making a big-time defensive impact down the stretch…and can’t make free throws…it puts Coach Steve Kerr in a tough position as far as playing him in that moment.
And then there was Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson struggling to put the Nuggets away with jumpshots, although Curry hit a crazy And-1 mid-range jumper that put the Dubs in position to seal the game with 5.9 seconds to go. Andrew Wiggins got the closest to the basket on his errant shot attempt late in the game; check out this shot chart of these three during the last 2:33 of gametime. No rim pressure, nothing easy.
And with all that going against the Warriors, they still had a chance to win the game until Monte Morris drilled a triple over Curry.
Curry leaving his man briefly to spy down on Jokic was a painful gamble that reminded me of that shot LeBron James hit over him in the play-in tournament last season.
Mercifully, the All-Star break is upon us. The Warriors have a stellar record with the second best record in basketball at 42-17, a miracle considering their Big 3 have only ceremonially shared the floor together this season. But it’s clear that without Green this team isn’t truly the Warriors, and without Wiseman they don’t have the height advantage they were looking for to tip the balance of power further their way.
Ideally, both those guys come back spry and refreshed for the sprint towards the playoffs. I’ll take a 71% win percentage at the All-Star break.