With a chance to stay atop the Western Conference, the Warriors did something seldom seen this season in Friday's 122-105 win over the Nuggets: Beating a quality opponent at home.
The Warriors built a 19-point lead in the first half, overcame a brief Nuggets run in the second quarter and notched their second win in three games.
The win marks the Warriors’ second in a row over the Nuggets as they took the season series from Denver.
Here are the positives and negatives from the game:
DeMarcus Cousins has been maligned for his defense for much of the season, but he churned out his best defensive performance of the season.
While Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant handled the scoring duties, Cousins finished with six blocks and three steals, helping the Warriors neutralize All-Star big man Nikola Jokic.
Performances like Friday’s are more than welcome during the stretch run, and if Boogie can sustain this effort, the Warriors’ road to a three-peat will be a whole lot easier.
The Warriors jumped out to an 18-point first-quarter lead with a performance marked by energy and defensive pressure. During the first 12 minutes, Golden State forced seven turnovers, setting the tone for the rest of the night.
In recent weeks, the Warriors have struggled to start games, often finding themselves at deficits entering the second quarter.
Friday marked a deviation from the recent trend, but as the Warriors continue through the schedule, good starts like this will be key.
Following the Warriors' initial run to start the game, the Nuggets used a 26-7 run to take a brief lead in the second quarter.
Great starts are a welcome sight if you can sustain them, and when Denver made it into a game, it looked, even for a brief moment, that the champs still were in a funk.
Fortunately for the Warriors, they ended the second quarter on a 17-4 run to blow the game open.
Kevin Durant bounces back
Supplementing Thompson's scoring Friday was Durant, who finished with 26 points, six rebounds and four assists on 10-of-15 shooting from the field.
Durant's performance comes on the heels of a rough stretch for the forward. Entering Friday, Durant had been shooting just 45 percent from the field and 30 percent from 3-point range over his last five games, including a 5-of-16 performance Tuesday against the Celtics.