Once again, the Golden State Warriors (53-24) showed the Denver Nuggets (51-26) what a championship team looks like up close. With the regular season No. 1 seed on the line, the Warriors dominated the Nuggets for a 116-102 victory on Tuesday night. Now, the Warriors have a two game lead with five games to play. Meaning, they have to flop to not earn the No. 1 seed in the upcoming postseason.
DeMarcus Cousins scored a season-high 28 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for the Warriors. He used an assortment of moves and flip shots to get going early. Time after time, Cousins found himself finishing plays below the rim. However, he also dished out five assists in the contest.
The game was still in doubt in the second quarter. That’s when Kevin Durant made three game-changing dunks to extend the lead. The first one came on a coast to coast sprint down the middle of the lane. The and-1 gave the Warriors a 55-41 lead. Moments later, Durant responded to a Nuggets’ bucket with another dunk. He also finished the half with a dunk to give the Warriors a 59-43 lead going into the halftime break. Unfortunately, Durant received two technical fouls to earn an ejection early in the third quarter.
However, the Warriors still pushed the lead up to 30 points before they called off the barrage in the fourth quarter. By the time it was done, the Warriors had five players reach double figures in scoring.
Durant produced 21 points and 6 assists. Stephen Curry dropped 17 points and 5 assists. Klay Thompson scored 13 points, while Kevon Looney came off the bench to score 10 points. Draymond Green only scored 6 points, but had 9 assists and 9 rebounds.
When Nikola Jokic made a hook shot late in the first quarter, the Nuggets took a 24-22 lead. It happened to be the last lead of the game. Jokic was held to 10 points and 6 assists. Jamal Murray scored 17 points, but didn’t have an impact on the game. The Nuggets had seven people score in double figures. However, five players scored 10 points. In fact, the Nuggets struggled to shoot all game long.
They were held to 37.5 percent shooting from the field. They were a dreadful 7 of 30 from 3-point range in the loss. Still, the Nuggets got to the line 29 times. They made 23 foul shots. The Warriors only made 3 of 8 foul shots on the day. As it turns out, they didn’t need any free throws on this day.
The Warriors also out rebounded the Nuggets, 55-40. They finished with 36 assists on 50 made field goals. Clearly, this was a day, the Warriors played efficient basketball on both ends. Now, they just need to finish the job.
With the Houston Rockets beating the Sacramento Kings, the Nuggets are only 1.5 games ahead of the No. 3 seed. Therefore, the Nuggets must be careful of dropping down in the standings.