Series starts 12/23
|Game 1: Monday, December 23rd|
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|Game 2: Wednesday, January 15th|
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|Game 3: Thursday, April 10th|
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|Game 4: Wednesday, April 16th|
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10:30 PM ET, April 10, 2014
ORACLE Arena, Oakland, CA
Kenneth Faried's shot at end voids Stephen Curry's go-ahead finger roll
He wouldn't allow his team to witness another Warriors coronation this spring.
Faried hit a turnaround hook shot over Draymond Green with a half-second remaining, and the 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.
"We showed that we have the fight and will to win," Faried said.
The Warriors wasted a 20-point lead in the first half, but still looked ready to touch off a playoff-clinching party.
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. But Faried quieted fans moments later, backing down Green in the paint for the winning shot.
Curry's quick 30-footer rimmed off as time expired, and the Warriors missed a chance to celebrate a milestone moment in front of their loyal fans.
"Not how we envisioned the night going," Curry said.
Timofey Mozgov tied a career high with 23 points and grabbed a career-best 29 rebounds, and Faried finished with 18 points and 17 boards to rally the Nuggets. Denver, which had lost six straight on the road, won both games at Golden State this season.
Curry had 24 points, seven rebounds and six assists, and Klay Thompson scored 21 points to highlight an otherwise disappointing performance by the Warriors -- especially down low. The Nuggets outrebounded Golden State 63-38, handing the Warriors another home loss to a non-playoff team this season.
"We've got to be better," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "There's no ands, ifs or buts about it. We've got to be better, and we've got to do a better job of taking care of business and closing out possessions and putting teams away. We can't hide from that."
Denver did just enough in the closing moments.
Following a Nuggets miss, Curry raced up court and came off a screen from Green. He drove the lane 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.
"I'm sure they'll forgive us if we handle our business," Jackson said. "It is definitely not ideal."
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 2 1/2 games behind fifth-place Portland with four games to play, including one at the Trail Blazers on Sunday.
Golden State is one game ahead of Phoenix and Dallas and two in front of Memphis. The Warriors will have another chance to clinch a playoff berth at the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.
Denver, which was eliminated in Game 6 of the opening round of the playoffs at Golden State last season, didn't have to watch the Warriors celebrate against them on the same floor again.
With injuries sidelining 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.
A night after beating playoff-bound Houston in Denver, the Nuggets (35-44) are doing their best to make an impact on postseason seeding out West.
"We're out of the playoff race. It would be so easy for them to just let go of the rope right now and just kind of get ready for the offseason," Nuggets coach and Oakland native Brian Shaw said. "They continue to come in and compete every single night, so as a coach I can't ask for anything more than that."
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.
OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 10: Kenneth Faried #35 of the Denver Nuggets shoots against Draymond Green #23 of the Golden...(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
Around The Association
MVP: There was a point midway through the fourth quarter when Timofey Mozgov stepped into a 3-point shot at the top of the key, and nobody seemed shocked when it went in. Finishing the game with 23 points and 29 rebounds, Mozgov had the game of his life, completely dominating a Warriors frontcourt that wanted to be anywhere but there.
X-Factor: With 4.5 seconds left in the game, coming off a potentially devastating floater from Stephen Curry to put Denver down one, the Nuggets went to their anchor. After a couple bruising dribbles, Kenneth Faried lifted up just below the free throw line and hit the right-handed hook to give Denver the win.
Defining moment: Midway through the first quarter, Andre Iguodala reaped Quincy Miller's ankles at half court with a crossover that completely laid the young Nugget out. Denver may have gotten the last laugh, but that unfortunate lowlight may follow Miller for the rest of his career.
Next 5 Games
Kenneth Faried had 18 pts 17 reb and Timofey Mozgov had 23 pts 29 reb for the Nuggets on Thursday. FROM ELIAS: Last team with a 15-15 and 20-20 in the same game: Orlando vs. Milwaukee (Vucevic 30/20, Harros 30/19) in overtime April 10, 2013. Last time in a non-OT game was Jan. 4, 2012, Orlando vs. Washington (Howard 28/20, Anderson 23/15)
Kenneth Faried had 18 pts & 17 reb and Timofey Mozgov had 23 pts & 29 reb for the Nuggets on Thursday. FROM ELIAS: Last team with a 15-15 and 20-20 in the same game: Orlando vs. Milwaukee (Nikola Vucevic 30/20, Tobias Harris 30/19) in overtime April 10, 2013. Last time in a non-OT game was Jan. 4, 2012, Orlando vs. Washington (Dwight Howard 28/20, Ryan Anderson 23/15)
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