Gary Harris scored 28 points, Juancho Hernangomez blocked a tying layup just before the buzzer and the Denver Nuggets beat the Golden State Warriors 100-98 on Sunday night.
Trailing by 13 points in the fourth quarter, the Warriors rallied and had a chance to tie it in the waning seconds. Stephen Curry drove down the lane and passed to big man Damian Jones, who had his shot blocked from behind by Hernangomez.
The Nuggets improved to 3-0 despite missing 18 free throws, including six in the final quarter.
Nikola Jokic had 23 points, 11 rebounds and six assist in his bid for a triple-double on a second straight night.
The 3-0 start is Denver’s best since the 2009-10 squad led by Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups began 5-0. This victory was driven by defense. Denver was sluggish in the second game of a back-to-back but turned up the defensive intensity. The Nuggets forced 18 turnovers.
No surprise, Curry hit three straight 3-pointers in a 1:11 span to lead the comeback. He finished with 30 points and had six 3-pointers to move him past Paul Pierce for sixth place on the NBA’s career list.
Draymond Green had a chance to tie the game at 99-all with 9.6 seconds remaining, but his second free throw rolled out. Jamal Murray made one of two free throws on the other end to make it 100-98 and set the stage for Hernangomez.
Kevin Durant showed off his true colors — wearing a yellow shoe on his right foot to go with a gold, white and hint of blue one on his left. He finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
Murray briefly left in the third quarter with what appeared to be a left leg ailment. The team was already missing versatile forward Will Barton, who was carted off the court Saturday with a right hip injury.
With Barton sidelined, the Nuggets went with a rotation of Torrey Craig, Juancho Hernangomez and Trey Lyles. They combined for 19 points.
Warriors: G Shaun Livingston sat out with a bruised left knee. “We need to have him ready for the long haul so night’s like this if he’s banged up we’ll rest him,” coach Steve Kerr explained. … Durant was given a technical foul in the third quarter for arguing a call.
Nuggets: The Nuggets are 21-7 at home against the Warriors since 2003-04.
Barton underwent an MRI on Sunday morning and coach Michael Malone said the team will have a clearer idea how long me may be sidelined Monday.
Hopefully we’ll get some good news,” Malone said.
Malone reflected on his time coaching Golden State center DeMarcus Cousins when they were in Sacramento. Cousins is currently rehabbing from a ruptured left Achilles.
“Nothing but love between me and him,” Malone said. “DeMarcus is very misunderstood. Those who know him know how smart he is, how competitive he is and how much he wants to win. … DeMarcus is going to be a great addition to that team.”
Warriors: Host Phoenix on Monday night. The Warriors have 13 back-to-back games this season.
Nuggets: Host Sacramento on Tuesday night.
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