The Denver Nuggets are learning very quickly that they can compete and defeat any team in the National Basketball Association and — now that they have defeated the Golden State Warriors 115-108 after trailing by as many as 12 points — that fact could not be more clear.

“That is who we are, man,” Nuggets’ head coach Michael Malone said after the victory. “We are a resilient group that keeps on fighting and that finds ways to win.”

Denver survived for three quarters and, eventually, found a way to secure an improbable win in miraculous fashion against the defending world champion Warriors. Golden State shot over seven-percent better from the field, had more points in the paint, more fast-break points, and fewer turnovers than Denver and, somehow, the Nuggets came up with the biggest win of the year just two nights after securing what is now their second-biggest win of the year agains the Oklahoma City Thunder.

“I think it is just a belief. I think our guys believe in what we are doing, they believe in each other, and they believe in themselves,” Malone said. “I could not have been prouder of our guys.”

For this obnoxiously young Nuggets’ squad to put together such a gutsy performance against arguably the great team ever assembled is spectacular, but the incredible grit that Denver has displayed goes even further than that.

“We have a team full of competitors. We got guys who love playing in games like this,” Gary Harris — normally the soft-spoken member of the Nuggets — said after beating the Warriors tonight. “We are the type of team to compete to the last second and that is what we did tonight.”

Over the past week, Denver has had to play the Eastern Conference’s top-seeded Boston Celtics, the San Antonio Spurs the following night for a back-to-back before returning to the Pepsi Center to face the Thunder and the Warriors. To make that more clear, the Nuggets’ opposition has a combined record of 143-71 and Denver managed to — in total — outscore that level of opposition by eight points after each game went down to the last possession outside of the win over the Warriors.

“What we have done lately against Boston, San Antonio, (Golden State), and Oklahoma City shows that we are a team that is for real,” Malone said in his postgame presser. “To go 2-2 in this tough four-game stretch — we aren’t satisfied with that — but I love the fact that we won two games in a row against great teams.”

This Nuggets’ team is developing into a group that refuses to roll over and die. They may be young, they may be inexperienced, and they may be learning on the fly, but that is what makes these victories all the more special. As the Nuggets continue to learn how to win at the NBA-level, they become more and more potent and are now one of the teams that no playoff-contender wants to see in the playoffs.

“This has been a real good test for us and I am happy that it has happened to us,” Barton said in front of his locker after the win. “It is really going to make us grow up fast. For what we are trying to accomplish, we need this.”

Now, the test for the Nuggets is to continue on this winning trajectory and begin applying this level of play to not just the upper-echelon teams in basketball, but also the bottom-feeding teams as well. Denver has all the talent in the world, and that can sometimes be their downfall. Once the Nuggets learn how to focus their energy and superior talent in a winning direction — and not get bored — is when Denver will start to get a glimpse at what the full-actualized version of themselves actually looks like.

“We are not better than anybody. We need to come out and show that we can play the same way we did tonight no matter who we are playing,” Malone said. “In this business, you cannot come up for air and you cannot relax, you cannot take a breath. Stay at it, keep doing what we’re doing no matter who we play. Keep that mindset.”

Even without Paul Millsap and the recently-injured and defensive-ace Mason Plumlee, the Nuggets are righting the ship after a potentially catastrophic start to 2018. Denver is now 21-7 at home, 18-17 against the Western Conference, and 6-6 in the Northwest Division.

After the win over the Warriors, Denver is now just a half-game back from the New Orleans Pelicans — who are potentially on the verge of a free-fall now that they have lost DeMarcus Cousins to a ruptured Achilles — and just one-and-a-half games behind the sixth-seeded Portland Trail Blazers. Even crazier is that only two games separate Denver from the fifth-seeded Thunder as of the morning of Feb. 4th. While the sky felt like it was falling at one point, Denver rebounded nicely and is in a strong position to make a run at a strong playoff seed.

“Some teams limp into the All-Star break,” Malone explained. “We don’t want to limp into the All-Star break — we want to go into the All-Star break feeling great about ourselves and come out with that same kind of mojo if we can.”

One thing is for sure; this Nuggets’ team is finally realizing how good they can be.

“Now we see we can play with anybody and we just have to keep that edge about us,” Barton said to cap off an incredible night perfectly.