Stephen Curry became the first player in NBA history to make 3,000 three-pointers in a career Tuesday night, December 28 (Wednesday, December 29, Manila time) but Will Barton got the better of the game’s final minute, saving 4 of his 21 points for the final 43.6 seconds to push the visiting Denver Nuggets past the Golden State Warriors, 89-86, in the opener of a home-and-home sequence.
Nikola Jokic had 22 points and a game-high 18 rebounds for the Nuggets, who were playing Golden State for the first time this season and will get an opportunity to sweep a pair when the clubs meet in a rematch Thursday in Denver.
While the Warriors were falling behind by as many as 24 points, Curry struggled without a three-pointer for almost 36 minutes before connecting on his milestone three with 5.3 seconds remaining in the third period to cap a 25-14 Warriors run that trimmed a 24-point halftime deficit to 74-61.
Curry bombed in four more three-pointers in the fourth period, including one with 2:08 to play that got the Warriors within 84-82.
After a Gary Payton II layup pulled Golden State even with 1:04 to play, Barton tipped in his own miss with 43.6 seconds left for a lead the Nuggets never relinquished, before adding two free throws with 32 seconds to go to double the margin.
The Warriors had two chances to tie, including one final possession with 2.3 seconds to go, but Andre Iguodala misfired on a potential overtime-creating three-pointer, allowing the Nuggets to record a second straight win.
Curry finished with a game-high 23 points for the Warriors, making 5 of his 14 three-point attempts. His teammates combined to make just 5 of their 18 from beyond the arc.
Jokic also contributed 5 assists and 4 steals to the win.
The Nuggets won the game at the foul line despite making just 13-of-20. That’s because the Warriors missed 15 of their 31, with rookie Jonathan Kuminga going just 3-for-10 on a 9-point night.
Kuminga, seeing additional playing time with Draymond Green having gone into health and safety protocols, also had an interior shot blocked by Jokic with 3.7 seconds remaining with the Warriors down by two.
Andrew Wiggins added 21 points and 8 rebounds for the Warriors, while Payton chipped in with 11 points and Juan Toscano-Anderson 10.
In snapping Golden State’s three-game winning streak, the Nuggets dominated the first half, starting with a 10-0, game-opening burst. Barton had 17 of his 21 points in the first half, when Denver also had a 13-0 run en route to a 60-36 halftime advantage. – Rappler.com