Denver Nuggets bury Golden State Warriors with record-tying 24 treys

By Michael Kelly, The Sports Xchange  |  Feb. 14, 2017 at 9:09 AM
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DENVER -- Nikola Jokic did everything but attempt a 3-pointer Monday night. If he had, the Denver Nuggets might have set an NBA record from beyond the arc.

Instead, they settled for sharing the record in a statement victory against the league's best team.

Juancho Hernangomez hit six of Denver's 24 3-pointers and finished with 27 points and 10 rebounds -- both career bests -- as the Nuggets routed the Golden State Warriors 132-110.

Jokic had 17 points, 21 rebounds and 12 assists for his second triple-double of the season. He set career highs for assists and rebounds but was overshadowed by the team's outside shooting. Four players hit at least four 3-pointers, and Denver finished at 60 percent on its 40 3-point attempts.

Jameer Nelson (23 points) had five 3-pointers, and Will Barton (24 points) sank four from long range and grabbed 10 rebounds.

The Nuggets' 24 3-pointers tied the record that Houston set earlier this season. The Rockets needed 61 attempts to reach that mark on Dec. 16, while the Nuggets reached it on their 38th attempt.

Fittingly, Hernangomez hit the record-tying shot.

"He was out there playing like he was a seasoned vet," Nuggets coach Michael Malone said of the Spaniard. "You could see the confidence in him early. Once he saw a couple of shots go through, he was shooting the ball into a big basket."

Denver launched two more unsuccessful threes to try to set the record.

"We knew it at the end," said Gary Harris, who was 4 of 7 from behind the arc and finished with 16 points. "We were trying to get one more."

Kevin Durant scored 25 points, Patrick McCaw 19 and Ian Clark 18 for Golden State (46-9). The Warriors were just 8 of 32 from long range, including Stephen Curry's 1-of-11 effort. He went 4 of 18 from the field and finished with 11 points.

"I felt confident. Every shot I took felt like it was going in," Curry said. "Just got served a humble slice of cupcake."

The Warriors matched their loss total from all of 2015-16.

"I guess we have to go 27-0," Golden State coach Steve Kerr said.

The Warriors routed the Thunder in Durant's return to Oklahoma City on Saturday, and the emotion from that game impacted Monday's contest.

"We didn't have any energy. I think it's the point in the season where everybody's tired," Kerr said. "We didn't look like we had our legs underneath us. More maybe emotional than physical fatigue."

Both teams were short-handed because of injuries and other reasons. Golden State was without Klay Thompson, David West, Zaza Pachulia and Shaun Livingston, while the Nuggets had just nine available players.

Danilo Gallinari (groin) missed his seventh game, Emmanuel Mudiay (back) his 10th and Kenneth Faried (ankle) his third.

Mason Plumlee, acquired by Denver from the Portland Trail Blazers for Jusuf Nurkic in a deal finalized Monday, was in the building but not available.

Even with a skeleton lineup, the Nuggets (25-30) were able to control the game. Their 79 first-half points were a season high for a half and the most the Warriors have allowed in a half. Denver was 16 of 23 from 3-point range in the first 24 minutes, including a blistering 9 of 12 in the second quarter when the Nuggets turned a 12-point advantage into a 27-point lead.

The Warriors cut into the lead early in the third quarter, making it 84-68 on McCaw's layup, but the Nuggets went on a 16-4 run capped by Hernangomez's put-back dunk that gave Denver a 100-72 lead.

With Curry struggling -- including an uncharacteristic airball on a 3-pointer -- the Warriors' reserves stepped up in the fourth quarter. A 15-2 run to start the period got Golden State within 109-100 with 7:29 left, but Denver scored the next eight points to extend the lead and coasted the rest of the way.

Kerr said he didn't consider putting his stars back in when the deficit was nine.

"Certain games you can tell whether you're going to bring them back or you're not, and tonight was not a game where you bring them back," Kerr said.

That was fine with Draymond Green, who had already taken off his shoes and padding.

"I was done," the All-Star forward said. "I didn't think I was going back in, I had no interest in going back in."

NOTES: In addition to Golden State G Klay Thompson (right heel) being out, C Zaza Pachulia (right rotator cuff strain) missed his seventh game in a row and F David West (fractured left thumb) was out for a 13th consecutive contest. Warriors G Shaun Livingston was away from the team for the birth of a baby. ... Nuggets F Wilson Chandler was sick Monday and did not play. F Darrell Arthur sat out to rest his sore knees. ... Golden State rookie G Patrick McCaw got his third start of the season. ... The Nuggets expect to have C Mason Plumlee available to play Wednesday against Minnesota. The paperwork and physicals related to his trade had not yet been completed in time for Monday's game.

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