Great rally falls short

Faried in­jured, put on stretcher

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Ge­off Lep­per

oak­land, calif. » With Danilo Gal­li­nari and Jusuf Nur­kic re­turn­ing to the floor Satur­day night, the Nuggets fi­nally found a team more rav­aged by in­jury than they are.

Un­for­tu­nately for the Nuggets, Dray­mond Green and the re­main­ing healthy Golden State War­riors were able to hold on — if only barely — for a 111-108 over­time vic­tory in a game in­which Den­ver for­ward Ken­neth Faried was car­ried off on a stretcher af­ter suf­fer­ing an in­jury.

Klay Thomp­son’s driv­ing layup with 15.6 sec­onds left in the ex­tra pe­riod de­liv­ered the War­riors’ 34th straight win at Or­a­cle Arena and de­nied first-year Nuggets coach Michael Malone a sig­na­ture win with his new team. The Nuggets were outscored 25-4 to open the con­test and trailed 37-11 at one point but fought all the way back to force over­time against a War­riors team that was miss­ing Stephen Curry and down to just seven avail­able play­ers by game’s end.

Gal­li­nari scored 24 points in his first ac­tion since Dec. 20 and Jameer Nel­son added 20 points for the Nuggets, who have lost five straight games and eight of their last nine.

Nuggets guard Will Bar­ton had 21 points, in­clud­ing a layup that tied the score at 102 with 0.9 sec­onds re­main­ing in reg­u­la­tion, but could not hit ei­ther of his last-minute at­tempts to force a tie in OT. His pull-up 3pointer fromthe left­wing at the fi­nal buzzer hit short off the front rim.

The Nuggets didn’t lead at all in reg­u­la­tion, mov­ing in front for the first time af­ter Gal­li­nari drilled a pair of free throws 49 sec­onds into over­time.

Green— who put up his sec­ond con­sec­u­tive triple-dou­ble with 29 points, 17 re­bounds and 14 as­sists — re­sponded with a ty­ing layup, then dished to Ian Clark for a go-ahead bucket. But Faried’s put­back tied the game at 106 with 2:18 re­main­ing.

Mar­resse Speights’ 18-foot jumper was

can­celed out by Faried’s driv­ing leaner at the 33.3-sec­ond mark, leav­ing the teams knot­ted at 108.

Thomp­son fol­lowed with his goa­head shot, and Bar­ton couldn’t re­spond at the other end with an off-bal­ance leaner over An­dre Iguo­dala. Thomp­son, who fin­ished with 26 points, hit 1-of-2 free throws and de­fended Bar­ton on the fi­nal shot.

Curry, who missed the War­riors’ pre­vi­ous two games, re­turned to the lineup but lasted just 14 first-half min­utes be­fore ag­gra­vat­ing his bruised left leg. He fin­ished with five points, four as­sists and two steals.

The early story line re­gard­ing the re- turn of Gal­li­nari af­ter miss­ing six games with a sprained left an­kle and the sea­son de­but of Nur­kic, who was com­ing back fol­low­ing an eight-month re­cov­ery from a par­tially torn left patel­lar ten­don, was swamped by theNuggets’ early strug­gles. The War­riors led 37-13 af­ter the first quar­ter, when theNuggets shot just 21.7 per­cent from the floor and missed all six 3-point at­tempts.

Nur­kic was rusty in his first game ac­tion since April 15; af­ter check­ing in for Nikola Jo­kic at the 6:37 mark of the first quar­ter, the Bos­nian 7-footer missed all five of his shots, with Green and An­drew Bogut de­liv­er­ing blocks on a couple of at­tempts. He checked out again af­ter 4:47 and did not play again.

The Nuggets be­gan to right them­selves af­ter that, with Gal­li­nari andNel­son com­bin­ing for 20 points in the sec­ond quar­ter.

TheWar­riors’ Stephen Cur­ry­makes a pass over the Nuggets’ Jameer Nel­son in the first half Satur­day night in Oak­land. Marcio Jose Sanchez, The As­so­ci­ated Press

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