Skip to content

Nuggets, Andre Miller use second half surge to defeat Warriors

Apr 20, 2013, 10:44 PM EDT

Golden State Warriors v Denver Nuggets - Game One Getty Images

Game one proved to be the perfect example of why this series has a chance to be the best of the first round match ups. Both teams dueled down the stretch with some fantastic shot making, but it was Andre Miller’s lay up in the final seconds that lifted the Nuggets to a 97-95 win over the Warriors to take a 1-0 series lead.

If there was any surprise to this game it wasn’t that there was a fantastic finish, but that it took so long for both teams to find their stride. The first half featured better defense than anticipated, but also both teams missing shots that they would normally make.

Stephen Curry seemed particularly off his game early on, hitting only 1 of his 10 first half shots while scoring 4 points. But he wasn’t alone. Off the bench, Carl Landry also had 4 first half points on 1-6 shooting and Jarrett Jack had 8 points on 3-7 shooting. Were it not for Klay Thompson‘s 15 points on 7-11 shooting, the Warriors would have found themselves behind rather than up by 4 at the half.

But the Warriors did have the lead, mostly because the Nuggets were equally out of sorts. The Warriors did a very good job of mixing up their defense and keeping the Nuggets’ offense off balance. Golden State flashed several possessions of zone defense, inviting the Nuggets to shoot long jumpers rather than getting into the paint. The Warriors also did a good job of sending multiple players back in transition defense to avoid the run outs the Nuggets rely on for easy points.

In the 2nd half, however, the Nuggets finally started to find their stride by sorting out how to attack the Dubs’ defense. In the third quarter Ty Lawson got aggressive going to the basket, Corey Brewer got a few shots to fall, and even JaVale McGee got into the act with a couple of baskets. The Nuggets were became the team they’ve been all season, getting to the rim for baskets and using better energy to fuel their attack.

They also picked up their defensive intensity. Denver forced 5 turnovers in the third period, and while that didn’t translate to fast break points it did help them hold the Warriors to only 16 points in the period and turn the tide of the game.

It was the final frame, though, that provided the real fireworks. Golden State battled to make this a game when they just as easily could have folded in the face of a Denver team that typically dominates at home. Curry started to hit some shots, Carl Landry found some cracks in Denver’s interior defense for some baskets, and Andrew Bogut combined stellar defense with solid scoring. So even though David Lee went down with an injury early in the period, the Warriors were able to persevere and keep the game close enough that they could steal it at the end.

But those hopes were dashed by Andre Miller‘s fantastic fourth quarter. Miller scored 18 of his game high 28 points in the final 12 minutes, getting into the paint. His old-man game was on full display as he posted up whichever defender happened to be on him and scored at will when the double team never came. His combination of step throughs, turnaround jumpers, and lay-ins at the rim  were simply fantastic. And when the game was on the line, there was Miller again, driving from the top of the key and hitting a nifty lay-in around Andrew Bogut’s challenge to win the game.

If it wasn’t clear coming into this series, this game showed that the Warriors have what it takes to play with the Nuggets regardless of where the game is played. The Nuggets needed a fantastic finish from Miller to claim this game and that was only enough after several Warriors struggled more than anyone could have expected.

That said, while the Warriors should be confident, they should also be kicking themselves for losing such a winnable game. Denver isn’t likely to give them so many chances in the rest of the games that are played in their home arena and with David Lee‘s prospects up in the air and Kenneth Faried likely to make his return soon, the Warriors’ uphill climb may have gotten a lot steeper.

We’ll see what adjustments Warriors’ coach Mark Jackson has up his sleeve and whether or not his team can claim some of the momentum back after surrendering it in the 2nd half. But, after one game, they still have as many questions as they do answers while the Nuggets can simply regroup from a position of strength.

As for the fans, we all just hope we can get six more games just like this one.

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Suns, Eric Bledsoe have ‘made progress’ on a new contract in last couple of days

    Sep 23, 2014, 10:30 PM EDT

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Phoenix Suns Getty Images

    No deal yet, but training camp is less than a week away, so both sides are motivated to expedite the process.

  2. Tuesday And-1 Links: Was Mark Jackson fired over religion?

    Sep 23, 2014, 9:16 PM EDT

    Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat - Game Two Getty Images

    Lance Stephenson with a dolphin? We got that.

  3. Report: Michael Beasley reaches agreement with Memphis Grizzlies

    Sep 23, 2014, 8:02 PM EDT

    heat beasley Getty Images

    Memphis is the latest team to try to salvage the former second overall pick in the 2008 draft.

  4. 67RIEFNS No. 6: Return of injured players

    Sep 23, 2014, 6:31 PM EDT

    NBA All-Star Practice NBA All-Star Practice

    Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose among the more intriguing names on the list.

  5. Mavericks unveil fan-designed new 2015-16 “skyline” alternate jerseys

    Sep 23, 2014, 4:16 PM EDT

    dallas Mavericks skyline alternate jersey

    It’s a play off what Seattle and Denver have done before.

  6. Celtics owner, GM both say they want to keep Rajon Rondo in green

    Sep 23, 2014, 3:29 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Clippers Vs. Boston Celtics At TD Garden Getty Images

    Danny Ainge has done a good job with keeping his options open.

  7. Report: NBA not actively investigating source of Luol Deng African comment

    Sep 23, 2014, 2:38 PM EDT

    Adam Silver Adam Silver

    Adam Silver also says league isn’t looking into owners’ pasts

  8. Wizards sign Rasual Butler, Damion James

    Sep 23, 2014, 1:26 PM EDT

    Washington Wizards v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

    James reportedly received guaranteed contract

  9. Early new drawings for proposed Warriors arena… that does look like a toilet

    Sep 23, 2014, 12:50 PM EDT

    Warriors-Mission-Bay-Arena-Concept-Design-NW-View-thumb-896x491-860535

    Not a lot of people will see the building from above, and it’s early in the process, but…. that’s not pretty.

  10. Kyle Lowry: Raptors wanted me just as Steve Nash’s backup

    Sep 23, 2014, 12:15 PM EDT

    Toronto Raptors v Los Angeles Lakers Toronto Raptors v Los Angeles Lakers

    The many times Toronto and Kyle Lowry could have blown it with each other

  11. Dirk Nowitzki developed quicker shot release. That’s just not fair.

    Sep 23, 2014, 11:38 AM EDT

    Philadelphia 76ers v Dallas Mavericks Getty Images

    He’s already the best midrange shooter in the game.

  12. Dwyane Wade shows off blood-spattered Dexter shoes (photos)

    Sep 23, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    Dwyane Wade Dwyane Wade

    Heat guard getting style from fictional Miami serial killer

  13. Mavericks sign Doron Lamb

    Sep 23, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

    Jimmer Fredette, Doron Lamb Jimmer Fredette, Doron Lamb

    Lamb, after playing for Bucks and Magic, likely to fall out of NBA following training camp

  14. Report: Nets signing Willie Reed

    Sep 23, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Los Angeles D-Fenders v Springfield Armor Los Angeles D-Fenders v Springfield Armor

    Reed, previously a member of Kings and Grizzlies, in line to compete for roster spot

  15. Andrew Wiggins not bad with first pitch before Twins game (VIDEO)

    Sep 23, 2014, 8:30 AM EDT

    Arizona Diamondbacks v Minnesota Twins Getty Images

    He’s better than Charles Barkley already at this.

  16. NBA’s rookie transition program presents information in a compelling way in order to promote real discussion

    Sep 23, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Initially uncomfortable information is presented in order to create a dialogue on real-life scenarios, which helps prepare rookies for their initial steps into the NBA life.

Featured video

What players stood out at World Cup?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. E. Bledsoe (3058)
  2. R. Rondo (2980)
  3. K. Bryant (2391)
  4. L. James (2350)
  5. R. Allen (2199)
  1. N. Young (1900)
  2. D. Rose (1849)
  3. R. Rubio (1805)
  4. J. Hickson (1717)
  5. B. Jennings (1669)