OAKLAND, Calif. — The Denver Nuggets saw the Golden State Warriors celebrate on the Oracle Arena floor one time. They didn’t want to see it happen again.
Improbably, they were successful in their quest.
Power forward Kenneth Faried hit a 10-foot turnaround jumper in the lane with five-tenths of a second remaining Thursday night, lifting the undermanned Nuggets to a stunning, 100-99 victory that prevented the Warriors from clinching a playoff spot.
Playing six men down due to injury and with just nine players in uniform, the Nuggets managed to pull out what coach Brian Shaw labeled their best win of the season.
Denver rallied after point guard Stephen Curry’s 5-foot flip shot put Golden State up 99-98 with 4.7 seconds left.
Following a timeout, Faried took an inbounds pass and drove into the key defended by Warriors forward Draymond Green. Faried then spun and connected from in front of the hoop to stun a Golden State crowd that was preparing to celebrate a return to the postseason, where the Warriors upset the Nuggets in the first round a year ago.
“I was thinking: Go to the basket … dunk one in,” Faried said of his game-winning move. “(Green) played me perfect, but I was able to spin off him and get off a good shot.”
Faried’s game-winner capped an 18-point, 17-rebound performance that was dwarfed by a 23-point, 29-rebound explosion from Nuggets center Timofey Mozgov. The 29 rebounds were an NBA single-game high this season.
Faried was more than happy to shine the spotlight on his teammate afterward.
“I’m excited about it,” Faried said about Mozgov’s career game. “I don’t care about my stats. I want go hug him.”
Winning for the second time in two nights, the Nuggets (35-44) dominated the boards, outrebounding Golden State 63-38. The Warriors were playing without starting power forward David Lee, who has nerve inflammation in his right leg.
“The last time I had 20 rebounds, Kenny said, ‘You can do 30,'” Mozgov said. “Hey, you never know. Some games are just like this. Everything goes right.”
The loss dropped the Warriors 2 1/2 games behind the Portland Trail Blazers in the race for the fifth playoff spot in the Western Conference. Golden State (48-30) would clinch a spot in the postseason with a win in one of its final four games.
Nuggets shooting guard Randy Foye backed Faried and Mozgov with 20 points, hitting four 3-pointers. He also had seven rebounds and seven assists.
Denver outscored Golden State 30-18 from behind the 3-point arc.
“We’ve had a couple of good wins,” said Shaw, recalling in particular a 116-115 home victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in which Foye hit a game-winning 3-pointer. “We celebrated that one on the court.
“But tonight, given the circumstances, given how Kenneth struggled early on, with all the missed free throws … this is it.”
Curry had 24 points and backcourt mate Klay Thompson 21 for the Warriors, but each shot just 8-for-19. Center Jermaine O’Neal came off the bench to add 12 points.
“It’s very frustrating, especially being in a position to clinch,” Green said. “To drop this one, especially at home, is very frustrating. To get manhandled like that on the boards is frustrating as well, and I take a lot of credit for that, having two rebounds. That’s unacceptable.”
Held to 15 points in the first quarter and down by as many as 20 in the first half, the Nuggets rallied in the third period to get within 75-73. Denver took its first lead of the game at 83-80 on a 3-pointer by backup forward Darrell Arthur with 7:50 remaining in the fourth.
Baskets by Mozgov and backup guard Evan Fournier helped Denver go up 90-85 with 6:08 to go. However, the Warriors immediately countered with six consecutive points, the last two on a dunk by forward Andre Iguodala that gave Golden State a one-point lead with 4:53 left and set up the exciting finish.
“We had them,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “We started giving away one possession, started giving away a rebound or a turnover or a bad shot or selfish play, and you look up and a 20-point game becomes a 10-point game. And a 10-point game becomes a two-point game. … We gave it back. Just unfortunate.”
NOTES: Denver C Timofey Mozgov’s 23 points and 29 rebounds were both career highs. … The 29 rebounds were the most by a Nugget since C Dikembe Mutombo had 31 against the Charlotte Hornets on March 26, 1996. … The Nuggets’ total rebounds (63) and offensive rebounds (25) were both highs for a Warriors opponent this season. … The Nuggets outscored the Warriors 27-4 on second-chance points. … When the Warriors and Nuggets met in the first round of the playoffs last season, it marked the 10th consecutive year Denver reached the postseason. That streak will end this year. … The Nuggets are 35-44, which would be a half-game out of the final playoff position in the Eastern Conference. … The six injured players left home by the Nuggets included four of their top six scorers — PG Ty Lawson (sprained left ankle), SF Wilson Chandler (strained left groin), PF J.J. Hickson (torn right ACL) and PG Nate Robinson (sprained left knee). PF Danilo Gallinari (torn left ACL) and C JaVale McGee (broken left leg) also missed the game.
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