Warriors beat Nuggets, reach 30 wins first

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[January 03, 2017]  OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Golden State Warriors got a first-hand look at a potential first-round playoff opponent Monday night.

All of a sudden, the future doesn't look so bright.

Despite playing without key big man Kenneth Faried, the Denver Nuggets gave the Warriors all they wanted on their home floor before coming up just short of the two-time defending Western Conference champs, 127-119, in an entertaining duel.

Reserves Andre Iguodala, David West and Shaun Livingston hit consecutive hoops during a key stretch of the fourth quarter, allowing the Warriors (30-5) to become the NBA's first 30-game winner.

"I thought the bench was the key to the game," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "Shaun Livingston and David West were fantastic. Shaun in particular was very aggressive on offense, which was good to see."

Livingston, who had totaled only 10 points and four assists in his previous three games, contributed six points and four assists in just 18 minutes.

Draymond Green posted his second triple-double of the season -- with 15 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds -- and Klay Thompson (game-high 25 points), Stephen Curry (22) and Kevin Durant (21) all topped 20 points as the Warriors won for the 10th time in their last 11 games.

But it wasn't easy.

"We gave ourselves a chance against a great team on the road in a hostile environment. I love the fight," Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. "We had a no-quit mentality, and we gave them a great challenge. I'm very proud of our team tonight."

After using 54.2 percent shooting to hang within 68-64 at halftime, the Nuggets (14-20) dropped back by as many as 14 points late in the third quarter before mounting one last charge.

Wilson Chandler had a 3-pointer and Jusuf Nurkic an interior hoop as Denver scored the final five points of the third quarter to get within 94-85. And when Chandler drilled another 3-pointer with 8:12 left, the Nuggets were very much in the game at 104-98.

But Iguodala slammed through a dunk, West flipped in a layup and Livingston hit a jumper. And when Green connected from 3-point range with 6:07 to go, Golden State had used a 9-2 flurry to re-establish a 113-100 advantage.

"They put a lot of pressure on us," Durant said. "They made us shoot tough shots. I think we did a good job adjusting."

The Nuggets even made the finish interesting, scratching back within 121-115 with 1:37 to go. But, on a night when Denver missed 26 of its 35 3-point attempts, Gary Harris misfired from beyond the arc with 1:06 to go and a chance to get within three, and the Warriors held on for their eighth straight home win.

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Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) celebrates during the fourth quarter against the Denver Nuggets at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Nuggets 127-119. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

 "We shared the ball like a really good team," Nurkic said. "When we're out there and having fun the right way and sharing the ball, we're looking good."

Green's 13 assists were a game high as Golden State compiled 33, the league-leading 24th time this season the Warriors have topped 30.

Thompson made 4 of 7 3-pointers as the Warriors shot 44 percent (11 of 25) from beyond the arc. Golden State shot 52.6 percent overall.

Chandler and Nikola Jokic scored 21 points apiece to pace the Nuggets, who return home to take on Sacramento on Tuesday night. Jokic also snatched a game-high 13 rebounds.

"We are still young," Nurkic said of the back-to-back. "I'm excited."

Six Nuggets scored in double figures, including Danilo Gallinari with 19 points and Nurkic with 15.

In losing for the fifth time in its last seven road games, Denver shot 47.5 percent.

NOTES: The Warriors became the first team in NBA history to win at least 30 of their first 35 games three seasons in a row. ... The Warriors are 12-0 this season when SG Klay Thompson, PG Stephen Curry and SF Kevin Durant all score 20. ... With another game scheduled Tuesday at home against Sacramento, Nuggets coach Michael Malone opted to give PF Kenneth Faried (sore lower back) the night off. ... Warriors PG Stephen Curry made three 3-pointers in the game, the first of which allowed him to break a tie with former Nuggets SF Dale Ellis (1,719) for 15th place on the NBA's career list for 3-pointers made.

[ 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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