Steph Curry

What we learned as Warriors squander early lead in loss to Nuggets

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SAN FRANCISCO – Like he has done to so many other teams throughout the 2023-24 NBA season and his award-winning career, Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokić simply was too much for the Warriors to handle Sunday afternoon.

The six-time NBA All-Star notched his 18th triple-double this season and the 122nd of his career (fourth all-time), putting up 32 points to go with 16 rebounds and 16 assists while helping the Nuggets complete the season sweep of the Warriors with a 119-103 win at Chase Center.

Seven weeks earlier, Jokić capped a massive fourth-quarter comeback by the Nuggets and banked in a winning 3-point shot from 39 feet out at the buzzer.

He played spoiler again Sunday, ruining another milestone moment by Stephen Curry.

Curry scored 20 points and moved past Dwayne Wade and Adrian Dantley into 31st place on the NBA’s career scoring charts. Curry struggled with his shot most of the day, going just 1 of 10 on 3-pointers.

Klay Thompson continued to show how potent he can be coming off the bench for Golden State. An anchor on four championship teams, Thompson scored all 23 of his points in the first half but was shut out in 15 minutes of action during the second.

Jonathan Kuminga had 19 points and six rebounds while Andrew Wiggins scored 14.

Golden State missed a chance to move into the No. 9 spot in the Western Conference. The Warriors (29-27) began the day a half game behind the Los Angeles Lakers, who lost to the Phoenix Suns earlier in the day. When Sunday's slate of games had concluded, they still remained 10th.

Thompson got the Warriors off to a good start with 16 points in the first quarter.

The two teams went into halftime tied before the Nuggets grabbed a slight edge going into the fourth quarter and then pulled away.

Here are the takeaways from Sunday’s game:

Handling Jokić

Jokić once again gave the Warriors more than they could handle, but that’s nothing new. He had double-doubles in each of the three previous games against Golden State this season, and he banked in the game-winner against the Warriors from 39 feet away at the buzzer when the two teams met at Chase Center earlier this season.

Draymond Green drew the first shift trying to defend Jokić, who had a notable size advantage in the matchup and took full advantage.

Kevon Looney, who played in his 284th consecutive game in the regular season and playoffs (tying the fifth-longest streak in NBA history), also took a shot at trying to contain Joker. Clearly a bigger physical matchup, Looney wasn’t able to do much to slow Jokić down.

Green did force an airball 3-point attempt from Jokić in the fourth quarter, but that was one of the few things that went the Warriors’ way.

Klay comes out cooking

Thompson started the game on fire but couldn't stay hot the entire afternoon.

He set the tone for Golden State’s offense early with five 3-pointers in the first quarter when he put up 16 points, and all 23 of his points came in the first half.

After nailing his fifth three in seven attempts, Thompson pounded his chest then jogged to the end of the court to celebrate with the fans.

Thompson wasn’t just taking it to the Nuggets’ backups. Most of his scoring came against Denver’s Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who is a solid defender.

Thompson has handled being benched like a true professional and is now the anchor on Golden State’s bench that will only get better and deeper once Chris Paul is activated.

Dishing dimes

The Warriors’ offense operated very smoothly and efficiently early on. There was a lot of great ball movement and bounce-passes through traffic as Golden State freely spread the wealth.

The Dubs had seven assists on their first eight buckets and 18 of their 23 made shots in the first half. They finished with 27 assists on 35 baskets.

That’s an area where Golden State has made significant strides over the past month. The Warriors have dropped 27 or more assists in their last nine games.

That type of sharing keeps everyone on Golden State’s roster involved and makes it extremely difficult for opponents to key in on just one player.

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