Warriors

Curry, Warriors hold off pesky Nuggets, improve to 33-8

Curry, Warriors hold off pesky Nuggets, improve to 33-8

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- Even when Stephen Curry isn't at his best he can still be downright brilliant.

Curry scored 32 points and dished out nine assists in another superb performance during his sensational recent stretch, and the Golden State Warriors beat the Nuggets 124-114 on Monday night to avenge an ugly home loss to Denver in late December.

"When you've got a guy as talented as Steph, he is who he is," teammate David West said. "The rest of us sort of understand and expect him to do what he's going to do."

Klay Thompson scored 19 on his bobbblehead night while Draymond Green added a season-high 23 points and 10 assists in the defending NBA champions' fifth straight victory on a night when Kevin Durant sat out his third consecutive game with a strained right calf.

Nikola Jokic had his first triple-double of the season with 22 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists as four players scored 20 points or more for the Nuggets, who were coming off a 106-98 loss at Sacramento on Saturday.

In his 12th 30-point game of the season, Curry hit a long 3-pointer with 56.1 seconds left in the third and the Warriors led 93-81 going into the final quarter after the Nuggets had fought back to tie it midway through the period.

"I didn't think he played that well, but this is Steph Curry. On a night when he's not maybe at his best, he's still dominating the game in parts," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "He hit the big shots during that stretch."

Curry shot 9 for 17 overall, including 5 of 10 from 3-point territory.

The two-time MVP has scored 29 or more points in seven straight games. In four games before Monday, he was averaging 36 points, six rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.3 steals in 31.8 minutes since returning from an 11-game absence due to a sprained right ankle.

The Western Conference player of the week for last week, Curry strained his left knee in the first half, headed to the locker room to have it taped and then returned.

West contributed 10 points, scoring in double figures for a third straight game to go with six rebounds and four assists while becoming the 127th player in NBA history to play in 1,000 regular-season games.

"It looks like his 100th game, the way he's moving out there," Thompson said.

Said Kerr: "David West is playing like he's 25 years old."

Thompson made his initial four shots and Green scored eight quick points, connecting on his first three field goal attempts. He handed out five assists as Golden State raced ahead 27-20 - a far cry from the Warriors' previous performance in a 96-81 loss to Denver at Oracle Arena on Dec. 23.

The Warriors shot 3 for 27 in that game from 3-point range but topped that with four 3s in the first quarter Monday and finished 13 for 30 from deep.

Thompson's 3-pointer with 4:10 left in the third made it 78-71 after Denver had tied the game 89-all at the 6:57 mark of the period.

The Nuggets held the Warriors to a season-low scoring performance here last time that snapped their 11-game winning streak. Golden State has won seven of eight since.

Denver got 22 points from Gary Harris, and 21 apiece from Jamal Murray and Trey Lyles.

"Even when there were times where it looked like the game was getting out of hand, our guys never let go of the rope," Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. "We never quit working. We forced them to bring their starters back in. We forced them to finish that game out."

DURANT UPDATE:
Kerr said Durant "didn't feel quite right" after going through shootaround earlier in the day.

"We're all on the same page that until he feels right, he's not going to play," Kerr said. "Hopefully the next couple of days he'll clear that hurdle and be ready to go."

GREEN FINED:
Green was fined $25,000 by the NBA for publicly criticizing the league's officiating in comments after Golden State's 121-105 win against the Clippers on Saturday.

TIP-INS:
Nuggets: Denver limited its turnovers to 11 after committing a season-high 26 at Sacramento two days earlier that led to 40 Kings points. ... Denver is 3-11 on the road vs. Western Conference teams.

Warriors: Andre Iguodala hit his first 3-pointer in nine games he's played since Dec. 18, snapping an 0-for-12 funk from deep when he made one in the first. ... Golden State rookie Jordan Bell took a hard fall in the second quarter and moved gingerly afterward. ... Newly crowned U.S. figure skating national champion and Olympian Nathan Chen attended the game, watched Curry's warmup and was set to meet him afterward.

UP NEXT:
Nuggets: Host the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday.

Warriors: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday seeking a 13th consecutive victory in the rivalry.

Warriors reminded of Stephen Curry's importance in Game 4 loss to Spurs

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AP

Warriors reminded of Stephen Curry's importance in Game 4 loss to Spurs

SAN ANTONIO -- The Warriors were comfortable going into the first round of the playoffs without Stephen Curry. Logic dictated they would prevail with relative ease against a Spurs team without Kawhi Leonard.

And after winning each of the first three games by double digits, a sweep seemed probable as the Warriors approached Game 4 on Sunday.

But they were out of sorts from the start, undoing their cause with a cascade of turnovers and uncharacteristically poor shooting. They did a lot wrong in in a 103-90 loss, but much of it could have been righted by the presence of Curry.

The potential closeout game was the first time in the series that Curry was missed in a massive way. He’s still a week or more away from returning, but the Warriors are smart enough to know their margin for error shrinks considerably when he’s not on the court.

It was profoundly evident, once again, on Sunday that when Curry is out, the game becomes harder for his teammates, and the Warriors could not fill the scoring void.

Kevin Durant made a valiant effort, scoring a game-high 34 points, but was 12-of-28 from the field. The 28 attempts are more than he has had in all but two of 151 games since he joined the Warriors.

“They did a good job of being physical with us on our movement and taking us out of some of our actions,” Durant said.

Klay Thompson, incredible through the first three games, was contained as much by the shortcomings of the Warriors’ offense -- too many possessions with poor ball movement and too few transition opportunities -- as a more tenacious San Antonio defense. Under the added pressure, he was 4-of-16 from the field.

“When we don’t execute, it’s harder for Klay to get open looks,” coach Steve Kerr said. “Where do you take 16 shots? I only remember two or three of them open. When we play the way we normally do, when we defend with a purpose, when the ball moves, Klay tends to get more open looks.”

Thompson also gets more open looks when Curry is on the floor drawing opposing defenses like a magnet. Multiple defenders routinely cheat toward him, and the result is an open look for a teammate.

Without him, and with the Spurs boosting their physicality, the Warriors struggled to score. In the 66 postseason games since Kerr arrived, only twice have the Warriors failed to crack 90 points, most recently in losing Game 7 of The Finals in 2016.

Game 4 on Sunday represents the first time in 21 postseason games, since Durant’s arrival, that the Warriors did not reach 100 points.

Draymond Green was 4-of-14 from the field. Andre Iguodala was 0-of-3. The starting lineup shot 34.3 percent (23 of 67) and the team as a whole was at 37.8 percent, its lowest since the 2016 Finals.

“They definitely pressured a lot at the start of the game,” Draymond Green said. “But we eventually got through that.

“But you got to give them a lot of credit. They came out and they probably played with more intensity this game than they did the entire series and they were able to get a win.”

This was only one game, one loss in a game they surely wanted to win. But it put a spotlight on the vulnerability of the Warriors without Curry.

If the Spurs, even for one game, can lock up the Warriors -- with help from the Warriors, of course -- the Pelicans, with defensive aces Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday, surely long for a couple shots at the champs without Curry, whose status for the next round is in question.

The Warriors are a great team, a championship team. The Curry effect, however, is necessary for the Warriors to win it all this season. This loss is a stinging rebuttal to the argument that they don’t need him to do so.

Will Warriors sweep Spurs for second straight postseason?

Will Warriors sweep Spurs for second straight postseason?

SAN ANTONIO -- The Warriors will try to complete a four-game sweep here for the second consecutive postseason when they face the Spurs on Sunday afternoon at AT&T Center.

Pregame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 11:30 a.m., with postgame coverage immediately after the final horn. The game telecast is on ABC.

Though the Warriors have dominated the series thus far, winning all three games by double digits, they expect the Spurs, still reeling from the death of coach Gregg Popovich’s wife, Erin, to put up a spirited fight to avoid elimination. Popovich missed Game 3 and also will miss Game 4.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 7

MATCHUP TO WATCH

JaVale McGee & Co. vs. LaMarcus Aldridge: Aldridge is San Antonio’s horse and he must have a stellar game to give his team any chance of winning. The Spurs have tried several tricks to get him going, with success only in Game 2, when Aldridge scored 34 points. The Warriors will start McGee, who will alternate with their platoon of big men in trying to contain Aldridge.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: G Shaun Livinston (L ankle sprain) is listed as probable. G Stephen Curry (L MCL sprain) and G Pat McCaw (lumbar spine contusion) are listed as out.

Spurs: F Kawhi Leonard (return from injury management) is listed as out.

SERIES TO DATE

Game 1: Warriors 113, Spurs 92 Game 2: Warriors 116, Spurs 101 Game 3: Warriors 110, Spurs 97

GAME OFFICIALS

Scott Foster (crew chief), Tony Brothers, Brian Forte, Dedric Taylor (alternate)

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors won three of four in the regular season, 112-92 on Nov. 2 at San Antonio, 122-105 on Feb. 10 in Oakland and 110-107 on March 8 in Oakland before losing 89-75 on March 19 in San Antonio. The Warriors swept the Spurs in the 2017 Western Conference Finals. The Warriors are 14-6 (including postseason) against San Antonio in the Steve Kerr era.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

SPURS ENGAGEMENT LEVEL: As if the loss of Erin Popovich was not enough to weigh down their hearts, the Spurs also are staring at the kind of deficit no team has overcome. How far can pride carry an overmatched team? Do they have the grit to summon their best under such adverse conditions?

WARRIORS IN THE MOMENT: Being so dominating in the first three games and already aware that their second-round opponent will be New Orleans, the Warriors will have to fight off overconfidence. Can they stay focused for 48 minutes against a team they’ve beaten seven consecutive times in the postseason?

THE ARC: Through three games, the Warriors have been riding their defense and letting the offense come as a result. The Spurs lack a naturally potent offense and further diminished by their inability to make 3-pointers. The Warriors have held them to 24.1-percent shooting from deep. It’s tough to win like that.