Friday, April 11, 2014
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Kenneth Faried made a turnaround hook shot over Draymond Green with a half-second remaining, and the Denver Nuggets made Golden State wait at least one more game to secure a playoff berth with a stunning 100-99 win over the Warriors on Thursday night.
Stephen Curry's floater over Faried put the Warriors up 99-98 with 4.7 seconds to play, sending the announced sellout crowd of 19,596 roaring to their feet. Faried quieted fans moments later, backing down Green for the winning shot.
Curry's quick 30-footer rimmed off as time expired.
Timofey Mozgov tied a career high of 23 points and set a career best with 29 rebounds, and Faried finished with 18 points and 17 boards to rally the Nuggets from 20 points down in the first half. Denver, which had lost six straight on the road, won both games at Golden State this season.
Curry had 24 points and seven assists, and Klay Thompson scored 21 points to highlight an otherwise disappointing performance by the Warriors. The Nuggets outrebounded Golden State 63-38 and made all the big plays late.
Mozgov made a step-back jumper from 17 feet before Darrell Arthur's 3-pointer gave the Nuggets an 83-80 lead — their first lead of the game — with 7:52 left.
After going down by five, Thompson and Curry highlighted an 8-0 spurt to put the Warriors up 93-90. Randy Foye followed with a layup and a 3-pointer to put the Nuggets in front.
Thompson missed a jumper, then Faried stole a rebound from Andrew Bogut and put it back for a layup that extended Denver's lead to 97-93. Curry came back with two free throws before Faried made 1 of 2 from the line.
Curry forced another foul and made both free throws shots to slice Denver's lead to 98-97 with 35.9 seconds left. Following another Nuggets miss, Curry came off a screen from Green and floated a go-ahead runner over Faried with 4.7 seconds left that seemingly put the Warriors in the playoffs.
Instead, the Nuggets called timeout and went right after the undersized Green, who has been starting at power forward for the injured David Lee. Faried backed Green down and floated in a hook shot that silenced the blue-and-gold clad crowd for good.
The Warriors were trying to clinch a spot in the playoffs in consecutive years for the first time since the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons and improve their playoff position. Instead, Golden State (48-30) fell 2½ games behind fifth-place Portland with four games to play, including one at the Trail Blazers on Sunday. Golden State is 1½ games ahead of Phoenix and Dallas and two ahead of Memphis.
Denver, which was eliminated in Game 6 of the opening round of the playoffs at Golden State last season, made sure they didn't have to watch the Warriors celebrate against them on the same floor again.
With injuries sideling six Nuggets regulars, the Warriors overwhelmed Denver's decimated team at the start to go ahead by 20 points in the second quarter. But the Nuggets came back behind Mozgov and Faried, trailing Golden State 53-43 at the half and 75-73 through three quarters before holding off the warriors in the fourth.
NOTES: The Warriors missed a chance to win 49 games for the first time since winning 50 in the 1993-94 season. ... Lee missed his seventh straight game for the Warriors with a nerve injury in his right hamstring/back. The team said there's no timetable for his return. ... Denver is 2-1 against the Warriors this season. The teams meet in the regular-season finale Wednesday at Denver.
Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP