Thursday, April 17, 2014
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Reserves Lead Warriors Past Nuggets In Finale

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[April 17, 2014]  DENVER  With the guys who carried the Golden State Warriors to the playoffs serving as spectators, two role players stepped up Wednesday.

Guard Jordan Crawford scored a career-high 41 points and Golden State beat the Denver Nuggets 116-112 to enter the playoffs on a winning note.

Forward Harrison Barnes also had a career high with 30 points for the Warriors, whose postseason fate was determined when Oklahoma City edged Detroit for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.

Golden State, the No. 6 seed, will open the first round in Los Angeles on Saturday against the Los Angeles Clippers.

"It's going to be a big-time task, but we're looking forward to it," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "They're the favorites, and they should be. There've been a lot of underdogs that have been champs, so we don't pay attention to that. We respect the type of team that they are and now let the chips fall where they may."

The Warriors (51-31) finished 2-2 against L.A., but they will be without center Andrew Bogut, making it tougher to go against Clippers big men Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

Golden State can draw on last year's playoff experience when, also as the sixth seed, it upset the No. 3 Nuggets in six games.


"I don't pay attention to it," guard Steph Curry said. "The experts picked Denver last year. They're never 100 percent right."

With nothing on the line Wednesday, the Warriors sat many of their starters. Curry, Andre Iguodala and forwards Jermaine O'Neal and David Lee did not play. Guard Klay Thompson played just nine minutes and forward Draymond Green was pressed into playing after centers Hilton Armstrong and Marreese Speights fouled out.

Still, the Warriors were able to win the third-most games in franchise history and also tie the record for most road wins (24).

"We're talking about 51 wins, 20 games over .500, 24 road victories," Jackson said. "It's an incredible group. It's been an awesome year."

Guard Randy Foye scored 32 points and added 11 assists and forward Kenneth Faried had 15 points and 13 rebounds for the Nuggets, whose rally fell short.

"I told the guys this is the last time we want to end our season on the last game of the regular season," Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said.

Foye was chasing the franchise record for 3-pointers in a season set by Dale Ellis in 1996-97. Foye finished with 189, three shy of Ellis' mark.

"I think the last two games it kind of got to me," Foye said. "(Tuesday) night I was kind of tight shooting the ball. Usually I'm loose, laughing and joking. I'm just happy I finished this year playing all 82 games without injury."

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Like last year, Denver's season ended against Golden State. A year after winning a franchise-best 57 games, the Nuggets (36-46) missed the playoffs for the first time since 2002-03.

Barnes and Crawford made up for the absence of the top players. Barnes scored 22 and Crawford 19.

Golden State led 66-52 at halftime.

Denver scored 15 straight spanning the end of the third and start of the fourth to take a 90-88 lead, its first since early in the game.

The game was back and forth when Crawford, who had 12 points in the fourth, hit a floater in the lane to make it 110-108.

After a couple of misses, Barnes hit a free throw and Green tipped in the missed second free throw to make it 113-108 with 29.6 seconds left.

The Warriors missed two of four free throws in the final minute, giving Denver a chance, but Foye's 3-point try with 7.3 seconds left was ruled wide after a video review determined Green didn't interfere with the shot.

"They knew who the ball was coming to, but I missed the shot," Foye said. "The ref said his hand hit the ball and made it hit the rim. I had a good look."

Barnes hit a free throw to seal it.

NOTES: Warriors coach Mark Jackson said C Andrew Bogut is out indefinitely and there is no timetable for his return, no matter how deep Golden State goes in the playoffs. Bogut suffered a rib fracture against Portland on Sunday. ... Denver F Anthony Randolph returned after missing Tuesday's game for personal reasons. ... Jackson became just the third coach in franchise history to win 50 games in a season. He joins Don Nelson and Al Attles in the exclusive club. ... The Nuggets honored longtime trainer Jim Gillen, who is retiring at the end of the season. Gillen, who joined Denver in 1991-92, is known for his signature sweater vests, and coach Brian Shaw, his assistants and several Nuggets employees wore them in honor of the veteran trainer.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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