DENVER — Forward Kenneth Faried had 24 points and 17 rebounds, forward Danilo Gallinari also scored 24 and the Denver Nuggets beat the self-depleted Golden State Warriors 114-103 on Friday night.
Guards Randy Foye (20 points) and Jameer Nelson (17 points) also scored in double figures as the Nuggets won their third straight.
Guard Justin Holiday had a career-high 23 points in his first start for the Warriors (51-13), who sat two-thirds of their starting lineup and lost for the first time in seven games.
With his team comfortably atop the Western Conference, Warriors coach Steve Kerr rested All-Star guards Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, forward Andre Iguodala and center Andrew Bogut. The decision was met with anger by fans on Twitter, who bought tickets to see the stars. Golden State was also without forward Marreese Speights, who was serving a league-issued one-game suspension.
That left the Warriors with nine players, but Kerr defended resting his players. Kerr acknowledged fans’ criticism was fair but he had to think of the “welfare of his team” by resting his tired stars.
Nuggets coach Melvin Hunt didn’t take offense to the move, saying his team would “respond like pros.”
Denver (25-41) did from the start, jumping out to a 10-point lead in the first quarter despite guard Ty Lawson not playing due to illness. The Warriors got within 55-54 on center David Lee’s bank shot with 1:08 left in the second quarter, but two 3-pointers by Nelson pushed Denver’s lead to 62-54 at halftime.
The Nuggets led by 12 in the third quarter before the Warriors made a run. Guard Leandro Barbosa hit a 3-pointer and a layup and forward James McAdoo’s dunk late in the period gave Golden State an 83-82 lead, its first of the game.
The Warriors were up as many as seven in the fourth but Denver rallied. Foye hit two free throws and a 3-pointer and Nelson hit another from long range to give the Nuggets a 101-99 lead with 3:30 left. The teams traded dunks and then Foye hit another 3-pointer and forward Wilson Chandler hit a fade-away jumper in the lane to make it 108-101.
Gallinari’s dunk capped a 17-2 run that gave Denver the win.
NOTES: Besides G Ty Lawson missing the game, Nuggets F Darrell Arthur did not play. He has been battling a right calf injury since Feb. 25 against Phoenix. … Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he knew sitting G Stephen Curry and G Klay Thompson was the right move when both players quickly agreed a night off was needed. “Those guys generally want to play every single night,” Kerr said. “When I went to them and asked they were very agreeable, and that’s when we knew.” … Nuggets C Jusuf Nurkic missed eight games with his sprained right ankle. … Warriors C Marreese Speights was suspended for pleading no contest to reckless driving in Florida.
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