Nuggets fall to Warriors 118-97, Barton goes down with injury

Apr 11, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone reacts to a technical foul called in the second quarter against the Boston Celtics at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Steph Curry scored 32 points and took over the fourth quarter to end the Nuggets’ 4-game winning streak. Draymond Green added 19 assists and 12 rebounds in the Warriors’ 118-97 win.

“We just need to play better, play with purpose,” Nikola Jokić said.

The last time the Nuggets faced the Warriors, Steph Curry went off for 53 points and became the Warriors’ all-time leading scorer, passing Wilt Chamberlain. Curry has been on a scoring tear as of late and Denver knew it would have its hands full once again from the 2x NBA MVP. 

Since Jamal Murray went down with a season ending ACL injury, the Nuggets were on a 4-game winning streak, playing some inspired basketball. They’ve also been without Monté Morris for 2 of those games but have still managed to get the job done. 

Injuries have plagued the Nuggets all season and if you think it couldn’t get any worse, it did. Will Barton also went down with a hamstring injury just a minute into the game and did not return. According to Michael Malone in his interview with ESPN, Barton heard a pop, which is never a good sign. 

“It starts with playing hard and we did not play hard enough tonight,” Michael Malone said. “That’s the most disappointing thing about this game aside from the Will Barton injury.”

Malone went on to say it’s up to his players to step up when other players go down and there was no excuse for the lack of effort in Friday nights matchup against the Warriors despite all of the injuries.

RECAP

This was a game of runs for the first two quarters with 6 lead changes in the first. Both Nikola Jokić and Michael Porter Jr had 6 a piece. Denver struggled with shooting to start while the Warriors shot 56 percent from the field. Andrew Wiggins had 9 in the first and Mychael Mulder had 7. Curry went scoreless in the first but the Warriors still had a 30-24 lead. 

Second quarter, Curry got hot and scored 7 points igniting a 7-0 run to help the Warriors take a 13-point lead. The Nuggets responded with a 12-2 run of their own midway through the quarter with 7 points from Facu Campazzo and 5 from Aaron Gordon. Warriors still had a 54-50 lead at halftime. 

Curry opened the third with his first three pointer of the night and went 2 of 4 from long range. The Warriors were clicking on all cylinders shooting 59 percent from the field and 56 percent from three while the Nuggets struggled finding their offense. They went 8 of 23 from the field and 1 of 10 from three, allowing the Warriors to take a 12-point lead. Golden State had 23 fast break points in the quarter and led 86-74 after three. 

The Warriors extended the lead to 15 points to open the quarter but then the Nuggets capitalized with Curry on the bench as they put together an 8-0 run in 2 minutes with some three pointers from Porter Jr who finished the night with 26 points on 7 of 14 shooting from three. Then Curry came back in and rained on Denver’s parade, going on a 10-2 run in 90 seconds. Curry made three straight three pointers and completely took over the game. Since Curry came back in, the Warriors went on a 29-9 run to close it out.

It was not the best night for Jokić who went 7 of 16 from the field for 19 points. He was a -18 in the game. Gordon finished with 17 points on 6 of 11 shooting from the field. Denver’s bench only scored 28 points while the Warriors bench had 49 points. Kelly Oubre was a huge piece to the Warriors win off the bench scoring 23 points on 9 of 16 shooting. 

The Warriors also out rebounded the Nuggets 52-36.

“They were better than us,” Jokić said. “They were shooting better, they were cutting better, they had open threes, they had made shots, they had layups, they had more rebounds than us. They were just better.”

The Nuggets have 13 games left in the regular season and play the next four at home. They’ve won 12 of their last 15 games and hope to close out the regular season on a high note. 

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