Listen Live Now:

Warriors beat Nuggets with offensive clinic, reclaim first seed

© Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports


Tonight was a game that defied logic and reasonable expectations, even from the back-to-back defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors. Even while the first-place Denver Nuggets played fantastic offense, the Warriors outmatched the home team by an almost incomprehensible mark. The Warriors (30-14) won 142-111 over Denver (29-14) to take back the first seed in the Western Conference and end an 11-game home win streak for Denver.

Here are three notes about the Warriors’ offensive firestorm:

“Come to see victory, In a land called fantasy”

Tonight’s game is one that will exist in our collective conscious like a fever dream. You think about it what happened and it feels both very real and completely unbelievable. The Warriors blew the Denver Nuggets out of their own building with a display of offense that even the Nuggets – a team that entered tonight with an NBA-best 18-3 record at home – had no chance of slowing down.

Golden State set an NBA record with a 51-point first quarter in which Kevin Durant put up 17 points (7-of-7, 3-of-3 from 3-pt), Klay Thompson put up 13 points (5-of-6, 3-of-4 from 3-pt), Stephen Curry put up 12 points (4-of-6, all from 3-pt). They also hit a Warriors-record 10-3-pointers in that first quarter alone.

The rest of the game was no less absurd, and the Warriors scored 142 points on 60 percent shooting (57-of-95) and 53.8 percent shooting (21-of-39) from deep. Below are the game lines for some of the key Warriors (aside from Durant and Kevon Looney, who are listed in the points below), plus some highlights:

Stephen Curry: 31 points (10-of-18, 8-of-13 from 3-pt), 6 rebounds, 4 assists and some insult-to-injury shooting from long range:

Klay Thompson: 31 points (13-of-19, 5-of-8 from 3-pt and four dunks), 3 steals, 3 rebounds, 1 assist:

Draymond Green: 4 points (1-of-5, 1-of-2 from 3-pt), 6 rebounds, 13 assists, 1 steal

Andre Iguodala: 8 points (4-of-5, 0-of-1 from 3-pt), 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, one monster dunk (below), and one deep two that shouldn’t have gone in:

As Earth, Wind, and Fire– whose lead singer Philip Bailey is from Denver, Colorado – sang on “Fantasy,” the Warriors put on a clinic. When you come to see them play on nights like tonight, you, “Come to see victory, In a land called fantasy.”

Kevin Durant has no shot at winning MVP, but he’s playing like one

Everyone is aware that since Durant came to the Warriors, there’s essentially no way for either him or Curry to win an MVP award unless one of them leaves. They’re both so talented and so valuable that it’s essentially impossible to give one of them the award.

Still, it’s worth remembering that MVP-caliber teammates can play at MVP levels at the same time. Kevin Durant is averaging a career-high 6.1 assists per game this season while still averaging 28.2 points a game. He’s made everyone else around him better.

Durant’s stats tonight were about at his outrageous norm, but they came on outrageous efficiency with one turnover. He put up 27 points (11-of-15, 5-of-7 from 3-pt), 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block, and this beautiful transition play with Iguodala:

Looney reaffirming value ahead of Cousins return

It’s no secret that DeMarcus Cousins’s return is imminent. The center has been sidelined for the duration of the season as he’s been recovering from a torn left Achilles. But Cousins will make his season debut on January 18, against the Los Angeles Clippers, in Los Angeles.

It’s been a moment that fans have been waiting for, and one that Steve Kerr and his coaching staff have long been planning for. Kerr has said Cousins will start right away, meaning Kevon Looney will come off the bench. But Looney has more than proved himself this season, and tonight, it was especially clear.

While he’s averaging 6.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per game coming into tonight, Looney put up 9 points (3-of-6), 12 rebounds, and 4 assists. While he’ll move to the bench, there’s no question the Warriors will still rely on Looney’s improved skillset and energy level in the front court. It’s hard to think his minutes will take too much of a hit, either.

 

More from KNBR

Get KNBR in your inbox

Subscribe today to bring The Sports Leader to your email inbox weekly.