Warriors lose heartbreaker to Mozgov, Nuggets, fail to clinch playoff birth

By Gabe Schapiro

The Golden State Warriors (48-29) lost the Denver Nuggets (34-44) in ugly fashion, 100-99, Thursday night, at Oracle Arena. Losing by one point doesn’t look so bad on it’s face, but the Warriors let a 20-point lead slip away, got out-worked for long stretches, were thoroughly dominated on the glass, and couldn’t convert on their first chance to seal a playoff birth. Stephen Curry nearly saved the day with a last-second floater, but wouldn’t be outdone by Kenneth Faried, who followed with one of his own.

The Warriors played well out of the gate. They quickly built a double-digit lead, a lead that grew to 20 just four minutes into the second quarter. From there the momentum swung to Denver’s favor, and for Golden State it all went down hill. The Nuggets kept chipping away, as the Warriors play slipped. Denver finally grabbing their first lead of the contest half way through the fourth.

Curry did his best Superman impression to try and salvage the win, but came up just short. He scored the Warriors last eight points to bring them back, very briefly giving them the lead. The last two of those points were a thing of beauty. With less then a minute to play, Curry somehow came down with a rebound, took it the length of the court weaving through several defenders, and floated a shot over Denver’s big front court. The shot gave Golden State a 99-98 lead with five seconds to play.

Unfortunately for Curry and the Warriors, Faried countered with his best Kryptonite impression. In those five remaining seconds he received an inbound pass, backed down Draymond Green, got up a floater of his own that he would sink to drown Golden State’s hopes for a win.

Faried may have hit the game winner, but the night belonged to Timofey Mozgov. The big center scored 23 points to go along with a career-high, and an NBA-high this season, 29 rebounds. He also had three blocks and a steal. Faried chipped in a big double-double as well, adding 18 points and 17 boards.

In the losing effort, Curry was the standout, but did struggle with his shot for much of the night in the face of heavy pressure from the Denver defense. He had a team-high 24 points, six assists, and four steals. Klay Thompson was their only other consistent offensive option, contributing 21 points.

Unfortunately Golden State’s other three starters had very poor nights. Andrew Bogut, Andre Iguodala, and Draymond Green combined for 14 points, on six-of-15 shooting.

The Warriors will have another shot at clinching tomorrow night in Los Angeles, when they will be facing off with the Lakers at the Staples Center. The game begins at 7:30 PM.