OAKLAND, Calif. — Nikola Jokic dished a nifty feed to Mason Plumlee for a game-tying reverse dunk midway through the third quarter, one of several highlight plays as Jokic marched toward his first triple-double of the season against defending champion Golden State.
But then the Warriors did what the Warriors do, answering with a flurry of points to spoil Jokic’s big night in a 124-114 victory Monday night at Oracle Arena.
The Nuggets (21-19) finished 0-2 on their only multicity road trip in January and fell to 7-15 away from the Pepsi Center. But the silver lining was a major bounce-back performance from Jokic, who racked up 22 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists after making just six of his 23 field-goal attempts in Denver’s previous two games.
Jokic began the contest assertively, hitting a 3-pointer, connecting on a hook shot and tipping in a miss by Jamal Murray in the game’s first four minutes. He had already compiled 12 points, eight rebounds and seven assists by halftime. Then he scored eight points in the first four minutes of the third quarter, sparking Denver’s 10-3 run to tie the game at 67 on a Murray pull-up shot. After a Draymond Green bucket, Jokic’s pass to Plumlee for the slam evened the score at 69-69.
But Golden State, which played Monday without Most Valuable Player candidate Kevin Durant due to a calf strain, created distance by closing the frame on a 24-12 run, most of which while Jokic sat with an apparent chest injury after colliding with Warriors star Stephen Curry while defending a shot attempt. The highlight play of Golden State’s burst? A trademark 27-foot pull-up 3 from Curry, who finished with 32 points and nine assists.
Gary Harris finished with 22 points for Denver, while Murray added 21 points and six assists and Trey Lyles scored 21 points off the bench.
Draymond Green recorded a double-double with 23 points, 10 assists and five rebounds. Klay Thompson scored 19 for Golden State, including a 3-of-6 mark from 3-point distance after the Warriors went just 3-of-27 from deep in their home loss to the Nuggets less than three weeks ago.
Denver next returns home to face Atlanta Wednesday and Memphis on Friday, a prime opportunity to reset against two of the worst teams in the NBA following a winless road trip.
The biggest silver lining for the Nuggets? Jokic returned to his status as an emerging star, recording his first triple-double of the season against the defending champs.