Warriors

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 134-131 OT loss to Nuggets

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 134-131 OT loss to Nuggets

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Since the calendar flipped to 2020, the Warriors (9-33) have been searching for any sign of positively in a dormant season. They didn't find it Thursday night, losing to the Denver Nuggets 134-131 in overtime at Chase Center. 

The loss marked Golden State's 10th straight, as they fell to 0-9 in overtime games over the last two seasons. The Warriors led the majority of the night, taking a 19-point lead in the second half against the Nuggets (28-12) before squandering it in the fourth quarter. 

Michael Porter Jr. scored 18 points, including the go-ahead bucket with 1:16 to go in regulation. A minute later, Nikola Jokic hit a game-tying hook shot to send the game into overtime, leading to Golden State's latest demise.

Here are the takeaways from a disappointing loss:

Early defense gives way to second-half collapse. 

Golden State entered the game against the Nuggets with one of the worst defensive units in the league, allowing opponents to shoot 47 percent. On Thursday, they held the Nuggets to just 22.7 percent in the first quarter and forced two turnovers. By the end of the first half, Denver made just 15 of 49 (30.6 percent) from the field. 

Along the way, the Warriors outscored Denver in the paint and off the bench, building a 19-point lead. Then the Nuggets woke up, outscoring the 89-69 in the second half and overtime, using a 16-6 run to cut the lead to two in the fourth quarter. Before Porter's fourth-quarter layup, the Nuggets had not led all game. 

It was yet another disappointing turn of events for a Warriors team looking for any signs of development. 

Damion Lee returns with a bang

Lee has been waiting most of his career for a chance to play under a guaranteed deal. On Thursday, he made the most of his new status, finishing with 21 points and six assists in 37 minutes. 

Lee's importance to Golden State is apparent. During his 45 two-way days, he started 13 games, averaging 12.8 points over his last six outings. Upon return, Warriors coach Steve Kerr immediately put him in the starting lineup. 

Based on his new multi-year deal, the Warriors would like Lee to be a long-term piece. The plan was made possible by Lee's hard work. After two ACL tears, countless G League stints, and two two-way deals, he's finally on the long-term stage he deserves. 

Russell struggles again

D'Angelo Russell seemed primed for a tear after his 36-point performance last week in Memphis. After a 6-for-19 performance Thursday evening, those plans seem to be on pause. 

The result didn't seem likely in the first quarter, when Russell scored 10 points, including two 3-pointers in seven minutes. However, he shot 4-of-15 over the final three quarters and overtime. The sequence followed a recent theme for Russell, in which hot starts give way to puzzling finishes. In Tuesday's blowout loss to Dallas, he finished 5-of-17 from the field after making four of his first seven shots. 

Russell has the ability to go on large scoring binges. But with that strength comes occasional off-nights. If Russell can curtail the latter, the Warriors can be dangerous as long as he's on the roster. 

Kevin Durant gets Finals revenge on Drake in 'Laugh Now, Cry Later' video

Kevin Durant gets Finals revenge on Drake in 'Laugh Now, Cry Later' video

Any Warriors fans who wanted to dunk on Drake before, during or after last year's NBA Finals can now live vicariously through Kevin Durant.

The Toronto Raptors global ambassador and rapper dropped the music video for "Laugh Now Cry Later" featuring Lil Durk on Thursday, with Drake spending most of it on Nike's Beaverton, Ore. campus. Former Raiders star Marshawn Lynch steals the show by tackling Drake in a brief appearance, but Durant absolutely dominates the Canadian star in a 1-on-1 game.

https://youtu.be/JFm7YDVlqnI

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Durant hasn't played in an NBA game since rupturing his Achilles in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals against Drake's Raptors, and his rehab is, at the very least, far enough along to best someone who once air-balled a 3-pointer warming up with Kentucky. By my count, Durant was 5-of-5 from the field with a steal, a block and two dunks over Drake.

Yes, I counted stats from a fake 1-on-1 game in a music video. What did you do with your Thursday night?

Drake traded barbs with Durant and the Warriors when Toronto and Golden State squared off in last year's Finals. There was Drake's "Home Alone" hoodie worn before Game 2, followed by Klay Thompson dropping a "See you in the Bay, Aubrey" after the Warriors' win that night. Then Drake trolled Thompson, and later Draymond Green, but it was all good-natured. Green and Drake met up between Games 1 and 2, while Steph Curry even gave the rapper a congratulatory call after the Raptors won their first NBA title.

[RELATED: Draymond wants you to know he liked Trent Jr. before you did]

Durant's no longer a Warrior, of course, with Game 5 marking his last appearance in a Golden State uniform before he joined the Brooklyn Nets in free agency. Drake said he was "wrecked" seeing Durant get hurt, and he even referenced the NBA star's eventual road back to the court in a verse on Rick Ross' "Gold Roses" last summer. It's fitting, then, that we'd get one of our first glimpses at Durant back on the court in a Drake video.

That it plays out like a fever-dream revenge fantasy written by one of their own has to be a cathartic, added bonus for Warriors fans.

Draymond Green has been on Gary Trent Jr. bandwagon longer than you

Draymond Green has been on Gary Trent Jr. bandwagon longer than you

Warriors star Draymond Green wants you to know he was on the Gary Trent Jr. bandwagon before he became one of the restarted NBA season's breakout stars.

The Portland Trail Blazers guard entered Thursday shooting an impressive 52.6 percent from the field and an unconscious 52.6 percent from 3-point range. He didn't hit those heights in the Blazers' 134-133 win over the Brooklyn Nets, but they never trailed again after Trent Jr.'s fourth 3-pointer of the night gave them a 130-128 lead with 2:29 to go in regulation.

Porland's win locked up its spot in the play-in game(s) for the Western Conference's eighth and final playoff spot, and Green loved what he saw from Trent Jr. down the stretch.

Green has been a fan of Trent Jr. for (at least) a few months.

Back on March 6, Green tweeted his appreciation for the guard on the night Trent Jr. flashed his defensive chops guarding Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker.

[RELATED: Haberstroh believes Wiggins' game 'will rise' if not traded]

Green's praise of Trent Jr. should cost a whole lot less than the $50,000 tampering fine he laughed off stemming from praising Booker on an "Inside the NBA" appearance. That praise also involved a plea to "get my man out of Phoenix," of course, and the NBA didn't take too kindly to Green's suggestion.

Some good, old-fashioned Twitter tire-pumping won't make Green's pockets lighter, and it has the added bonus of bolstering his basketball hipster credentials by saying he was on the Trent Jr. train before everyone else.

Really, it's a win-win for everyone involved.

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