The Warriors had the game in hand, but the Nuggets, despite 19 lost balls and an average address for three quarters, had managed to stay in ambush thanks to their MVP and several offensive rebounds. At -8 three minutes from the end of the match, it was Mika Malone’s decision to attempt the “Hack-A-Looney” that gave his team a chance, and his players did not let it pass!
Despite a Nikola Jokic who took advantage of the entry of Nemanja Bjelica to end the first quarter with 11 points and 8 rebounds, the Nuggets lacked intensity and the immediate impact of Jonathan Kuminga and Jordan Poole coming off the bench gave the advantage to the Warriors (33-25). The address of Bryn Forbes and Denver’s second five limits the breakage but their 12 lost balls allow the Warriors to take off. It takes two straight offensive rebounds from Jokic and Gordon to keep Denver in ambush (63-54).
Golden State continues to dominate the debates and even takes a 16-point lead. While they had only lost three balls in the first half, they however committed twice as many blunders in the third quarter, allowing Nikola Jokic to bring the Nuggets back thanks to a 17-8 (86-78) . Denver’s harvest in the offensive rebound allows them to return to -5 thanks to the address of Bryn Forbes but the Warriors retain control. Mike Malone then opts for the “Hack-a-Looney” and his choice pays off. The Dubs pivot is 2 of 6 on free throws and the Nuggets come back to -3 with a minute to play (113-110).
Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry then miss the chance to kill the match. Worse, the long rebound on the missed shot from the leader ends up in the hands of Monte Morris who heads for a ready-made layup to put Denver in front with 16 seconds on the clock (114-113). Stephen Curry takes responsibility by scoring a 2+1 but leaves more than five seconds to Nuggets. Nikola Jokic then attacks Kevon Looney in one against one and waits for help to shift Monte Morris who does not tremble and offers the victory to Denver at the buzzer (117-116)!
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
– Change of rotation for Steve Kerr. After three disappointing last games, especially defensively, Steve Kerr decided to start Gary Payton II in place of Jonathan Kuminga. Payton’s impact was immediate to bring energy to both sides of the pitch. Kuminga took his place alongside Jordan Poole in the second five and entered the game with determination, driving poor DeMarcus Cousins crazy. Steve Kerr also changed Klay Thompson’s rotation, alternating playing time with Stephen Curry after the opening minutes of the game. The experience has been satisfying and it will be interesting to see if Steve Kerr decides to continue on this path when he returns from the All-Star Game.
– A life-size Joker in the Nuggets draw pile. While the Warriors had six players at nine or more points at the end of the third quarter, Nikola Jokic was far too lonely. Admittedly, Bryn Forbes had scored 13 points in the first half, but behind him was nothing. The reigning MVP, however, allowed his team to hang on by making a monumental job at the low post and on the rebound. In his wake, the Nuggets never gave up hope and while their pivot was on the bench to start the last quarter, Bryn Forbes and Austin Rivers allowed Denver to stay in contact until their leader returned.
– The “Hack-A-Looney” rocks the end of the match. At -8 three minutes from the end of the match, and with Stephen Curry gaining speed, Mike Malone then decided to foul Kevon Looney to break the rhythm of Warriors and force the direct opponent of Nikola Jokic to score his goals. free throws. On the kneecaps, the pivot of the Dubs falters. He made it 2 of 6 in the space of 90 seconds and the Warriors’ lead evaporated, giving the Nuggets one last chance. The rest, you know it, Nikola Jokic and Monte Morris will validate this hold-up which sends the Warriors on vacation with a hangover!
✅ Nikola Jokic. The Nuggets center kept his team at arm’s length throughout the game, finishing with a monstrous double-double of 35 points and 17 rebounds, all complemented by 8 assists.
✅ Brian Forbes. The shooter continues to show why the Nuggets went after him. He paid for the Golden State defense’s two-man catch on Nikola Jokic, scoring 20 points 4-for-7 from range.
✅ Stephen Curry. The Warriors star played fair, playing his team first before choosing his moments to attack the Denver defense, including a nice 9/12 from 2-pointers, although he was still clumsy from afar ( 1/7 to 3-point). He finished with 25 points and 6 assists.
✅ Jordan Poole. Inside for a few games, Jordan Poole regained efficiency last night, scoring 15 points and delivering 5 assists off the bench.
✅ Gary PaytonII. Holder this night, he brought crazy energy and was omnipresent in defense, with 6 interceptions!
⛔ Kevin Looney. The only real pivot in the Warriors squad, Kevon Looney had the heavy task of defending Nikola Jokic all game. Despite the Serbian’s stat line, he was not unworthy but his 2 of 6 free throws in the last quarter triggered Golden State’s descent into hell.
Golden State (42-17) – Denver (33-25): it was the last game before the All-Star Game for both teams. We will find them on February 24 outside against Portland and Sacramento