San Francisco – The game was tied 127-127 with seconds left on the clock, Stephen Curry overthrew a pass and turned the ball over. Nikola Jokic stopped at half-court and threw up a “Hail Mary” shot that he banked for the win. A stunned Warriors crowd drew silence over the arena while Curry chewed on his mouthpiece in shock.
Golden State’s 130-127 loss to the Denver Nuggets was tough to swallow, especially when they gave up an 18-point lead. The Nuggets went on a 25-4 run in the final minutes of the fourth. This has been a reoccurring theme for the Warriors who have lost their magic in closing games. Golden State recorded their fourth-straight home loss to Denver.
“I mean just give them credit, they really tightened up defensively,” said Steve Kerr. “Then their guys hit some big shots, they got to the line. I thought Aaron Gordon was fantastic tonight, really dominated the second half in the paint, especially the fourth quarter. Then (Peyton) Watson hits the big three, that was probably the shot of the game. We executed most of the game but couldn’t score and couldn’t get stops in that last five, six minutes.”
“I think that we probably just got too cool out there, instead of playing with that same grit that had us up double digits,” Klay Thompson said.
The Warriors scored a season-high 44 third-quarter points, also the most points scored in any quarter this season. It was the team’s third 40-point quarter on the season. Golden State led by 18 and went on to lose, marking their seventh loss this season after leading by double-figures and the fourth time this season they’ve led by 18-or-more and went on to lose.
After the half, the Warriors came out aggressive and clicked. Collectively they shot 50% from the field with Brandon Podziemski, Klay Thompson, and Stephen Curry making back-to-back 3s. But by the fourth they got comfortable and lost their lead. Denver rallied late to tie the game with seconds remaining before Jokic hit the game winning three. He finished with 34 points, 9 rebounds and 10 assists. Gordon added 30 points and 9 rebounds.
I actually just watched the last six minutes,”said Curry. “We were trying to melt the clock certain possessions and started to play a lot slower than we had the whole game. Then you’re subject to make some misses with their defense set. Then on the other end they just made play, after play, after play, and we just couldn’t get enough stops, had too many fouls, got them to the free throw line and they made them.
Then it comes down to a bad possession by me obviously throwing that pass. CP (Chris Paul) is open at the top, never know how that plays out, then the basketball gods took over from there with (Nikola) Jokic’s shot. So tough way to finish with how we played the whole game.”
“I mean actually that was the last option,” Jokic said regarding his final shot. “In that play, I got the ball. It was three-point something seconds and I just took a shot. Those shots are the easiest shots to take when you know, you don’t have any other option. Actually, when I felt it, I didn’t think ‘Oh, I’m gonna bank this.’ It didn’t feel as good. I just — you can kind of see the flight of the ball and I thought, ‘Oh, I’m gonna bank it.’ That was the feeling.”
Jokic was left wide open, assuming the game would go into overtime, he made the shot at the buzzer. Another frustrating loss for the Warriors who desperately miss Draymond Green’s defensive presence has left the team dejected and confused. Kerr’s 12 starting lineup doesn’t give the team much chemistry to build off but their focused has shifted to the next game tomorrow.
“We play again tomorrow against the Pistons, young team,” said Podziemski. “They compete every night. Obviously, their record doesn’t reflect that. You can’t sulk in the NBA you got a game the next night or the night after. But everybody when they’re on the floor just taking control is the most important thing.”
Up Next: The Warriors host the Detroit Pistons tomorrow night, Friday, January 5 (7 p.m. PST) and the Toronto Raptors on Sunday, January 7 (5:30 p.m. PST), before closing out the homestand with New Orleans on Wednesday, January 10 (5:30 pm. PST).
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