It was a week ago today that Kenneth Faried hit a game-winning hook shot to propel the Denver Nuggets to a 100-99 victory over the Golden State Warriors. But last night the Warriors had their chance to redeem themselves.
And it seemed to be a victory well in hand for Golden State, as they headed into halftime with a 14-point lead. But the Nuggs stormed back and took the lead with just minutes to play in the fourth. However, it was the play of both Jordan Crawford and Harrison Barnes that lifted the Warriors to victory, as the two combined for a total of 71 points to lead the way to a 116-112 win.
Even with the majority of the Warriors' starters on the bench, the Nuggets couldn't seem to overcome the stellar play of the Golden State back-ups. Truthfully, Randy Foye was the only Nugget who seemed to want the win. Foye held his own, dropping a team-high 32 points to accompany his 11 helpers. But when you don't have a single other player break into the 20-point range, it makes it difficult to win. And although Kenneth Faried contributed 15 points and 13 rebounds, he didn't make the shots when it mattered most; shooting only 7 of 17 from the field. Anthony Randolph even chimed in for 19 points and five rebounds, but only played in 19 total minutes of the entire game. Not playing Randolph was a huge mistake on head coach Brian Shaw's part. But you can't blame a single person for a team's mishap, for it was the collective unwanted effort of the entire team that led to the loss.
As for Golden State, it was truly a story of two players. With Crawford going for a career-high 41 points, and Barnes going for 30; the rest of the team didn't really have to contribute. And they didn't. With the third highest scorer on the team only putting up a pathetic 11 points; this was a two-man show. However, the addition of Steve Blake did contribute to Crawford and Barnes' buckets, adding a game-high 15 assists.
But in the grand scheme of things, this game made very little difference in the outcome of the season. As Golden State locked up a six-seed in the West and were already guaranteed a match-up with the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round. The Nuggs will be watching the playoffs from home, and can look forward to the prospect of an up-and-coming college star in the NBA Draft that will hopefully bring this team to the next level.
And with the end of a season, comes rest for injured players and gives young players a chance to develop their game. Hopefully this time next year the Nuggs will be continuing their season instead of welcoming its conclusion.