Denver Nuggets guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, right, passes the ball while defended by Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) in first half action at Chase Center in San Francisco on Fri Oct 21, 2022 (AP News photo)
By Jerry Feitelberg
The Golden State Warriors hosted the Denver Nuggets at the Chase Center Friday night. The Warriors opened the season with a win of the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night. Denver lost its opener against the Utah Jazz Wednesday night. The Warriors just couldn’t hold on Friday night and were defeated by the Nuggets 128-123.
The Nuggets’ coach, Mike Malone, wanted his team to get on track by beating the Warriors. With two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic pacing the attack, the Nuggets had the firepower to upset the Warriors apple cart. The Warriors have one of the top defenses in the NBA.
Would they be able to stop the Nuggets’ firepower? The Nuggets answered the question in the first half of the game. After a high-scoring and hotly-contested first period, the Nuggets poured in 40 points in the first 12 minutes of the game to lead 40-34.
Denver led 30-29 when they went on a 10-5 run to finish the quarter leading by six. The Nuggets, not known for great defense, held the Warriors to 18 points in the second period to finish the first half leading 70-52.
Jokic paced the Nuggets attack with 14 points. Michael Porter, Jr. had 11. Stephen Curry had 13, and Andrew Wiggins ten for Golden State. The Warriors knew they had to catch fire in the second half if they were to get the win. They played hard. They won the second half 71-58 but could not catch Denver as they lost their first game of the season 128-123.
The game was decided in the second quarter. The Warriors second unit was not effective on defense, and the offense was nothing there. The Nuggets bottled up Jordan Poole. Poole scored two points in the first half. Warriors coach Steve Kerr could not insert Klay Thompson into the game as he is limited to about 20 minutes of playing time.
The other bench players added just 15 points. Denver’s bench tallied 26. Denver shot 59% from the floor and made eight threes in 14 tries. The Warriors shot 47% from the floor but made five threes in 22 attempts.
The Warriors knew they would have to be at the top of their game in the third quarter. Denver increased the lead to twenty before the Warriors started their comeback. They clawed back to a seven-point deficit 86-79. The Warriors started making threes.
Klay Thompson made two, and Wiggins and Draymond Green each had one. Denver refused to wilt. They finished the third quarter leading 98-88. With the first unit on the floor, the Warriors made shots. Unfortunately for them, Denver made them, too.
Curry knocked down a three, and JaMychal Green followed with a two-point bucket to close within six points, 111-105, with more than four minutes left to play. Jokic kept attacking the Warrior defense.
The big guy made a bucket and was fouled. He converted the free throw, and Denver led 116-108. Curry answered with a three. Denver scored the next five points to lead by ten, 121-111. Curry hit another three, and Poole scored two to trail by five. Denver scored to lead 123-116. The Warriors trailed 124-121 after Draymond Green made a basket.
There was hope. Was there enough time? Poole made a huge play by stealing an inbound pass and scoring to bring the Warriors within a single point, 124-123. Denver went ahead 126-123 with 13 seconds left. Denver scored the last four points of the night to win 128-123.
Game Notes and Stats: With the loss, the Warriors are 1-1. Denver is also 1-1.
The Warriors won the second half 71-58. Their offense came alive, but Denver had just enough offense in the second half to get the win.
The Warriors had five players in double figures Friday night. Curry led the team with 34. Curry made five three. Wiggins had 23, Thompson 16, Draymond Green 13, and James Wiseman 11. Poole was held to seven points. Poole did record seven assists. The team shot 47% from the floor. The Warriors made ten threes in 22 tries in the second half. They were 15 for 44 for the night.
The Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic had a triple-trouble. Jokic had 26 points, 12 rebounds, and ten assists. Bruce Brown had 20, Kentavius Caldwell-Pope and Michael Porter, Jr. each had 17 points. Pope made three threes, and Porter connected five times. Bones Hyland had 14, Aaron Gordon ten, and Jeff Gordon ten.
The Warriors have 123 points in both games played so far. One game they one, one game they lost.
The Warriors host the Sacramento Kings Sunday night at the Chase Center. The game starts at 5:30 pm.