The Denver Nuggets had a tough draw on Saturday night as they traveled to Oakland to take on the Golden State Warriors on the second night of a back-to-back. The Warriors were without their superstar guard Stephen Curry, and they too were playing their second game in as two days. The defending NBA Champions are always a threat regardless of the situation, and Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant were all in uniform. Denver stifled Golden State’s stars to steal a 96-81 victory behind a stellar team-defensive performance.

The Warriors opened the night with a three-pointer to take the first lead of the game, but the champs went cold soon after and the shooting slump snow-balled into 20-straight misses from beyond the three-point arc. Denver engineered a 9-0 run to build a small cushion early, but the Warriors responded quickly—as they often do. Denver handed the Warriors some early Christmas presents in the form of consecutive — careless — turnovers, and that is all that Golden State needed to open up an 8-0 run of their own and regain the lead.

Despite the early runs, the quarter was marked by sloppy play and ice cold shooting from both teams. Two of last season’s most explosive offenses combined for just 42 points as the Nuggets led 22-20 after one quarter.

After going scoreless on four field-goal attempts in the first, Thompson hit his first three shots of the second quarter. The Nuggets were able to weather the beginning of a potential frenzy from one of the NBA’s most notorious explosive scorers though, before making a strong run of their own. Gary Harris was spectacular in the second as he added 10 points on 3-4 shooting from the field and showed great energy on the defensive end. Thanks to his aggressive play — as well as a phenomenal team defensive effort on Golden State’s stars — the Nuggets’ led 53-41 at halftime.

Harris finished the half with 13 points and Jokic added 12 of his own, but the real story was the team defense. The Nuggets held the Warriors to 41 points, which is five points lower than their previous low at halftime this season. Golden State’s trio of stars was held to just 22 points on a combined 8-26 from the floor.

Great teams play well in the third quarter, and perhaps no team turns in better third quarters than Golden State. It didn’t take long for the Warriors to cut the lead back down to seven, thanks to some inspired play from Green. The Nuggets would ultimately hold their ground; although, a lot of that had to due to Golden State’s inability to hit their open shots. Again, the quarter featured sloppy play from two typically productive offenses as both teams combined for just 41 points in the second quarter.

The Nuggets are used to scrappy battles and they appeared a bit more at home in this climate than the typically well-oiled basketball machine that is Golden State. They survived the dreaded third quarter to maintain a 73-62 lead headed into the fourth.

To the surprise of just about everyone, the real push from Golden State never came. Their seemingly omnipotent offense stalled yet again. Denver deserves credit as they maintained their frantic effort on defense to hold the Warriors to 21-or-less points for the fourth consecutive quarter. After holding the Portland Trail Blazers to just 85 points on Friday night, the Nuggets held Golden State to an improbably low 81 on Saturday.

Following their second win in as many nights, the Nuggets’ record climbed back up to 18-15 on the year. The Nuggets, who have the holiday off this season, will host the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night back at the Pepsi Center,  where they are 11-3 on the year.