DENVER (AP)Eric Paschall scored nine of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, Andrew Wiggins turned in a double-double and the Golden State Warriors rallied to stun the Denver Nuggets 116-100 on Tuesday night.
A 16-point underdog, the Warriors were down 77-65 with 5:08 left in the third quarter. They went on a 43-15 run to take control and win for just the second time in 11 games.
”It was beautiful to watch,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. ”These guys have gotten so much better and it was great to see them rewarded for their efforts.”
Wiggins finished with 22 points and 10 assists for the Warriors. Dragan Bender scored 14 on the last day of his 10-day contract.
”We played great as a group,” Paschall said. ”We did all the right things and we were aggressive on what we needed to do.”
Will Barton and Paul Millsap each had 18 points as the Nuggets fell behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the second seed in the Western Conference. Nikola Jokic scored 16 points and had 13 rebounds in a perplexing loss on the heels of beating the defending champion Toronto Raptors.
Denver coach Michael Malone warned his team not to overlook the 14-48 Warriors, who took the Nuggets to overtime on Jan. 16 in San Francisco before losing. It was another head-scratching home loss for the Nuggets, who’ve also dropped games to Atlanta and Cleveland.
”Whether we let our foot off (the gas) or thought they were just going to go away, I’m not really sure,” Malone said. ”Our defense right now is nonexistent from top to bottom. We have to find a way to fix that in a hurry.”
Jordan Poole hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to end the third quarter to give Golden State the lead and the team carried the momentum into the fourth.
The Nuggets, who led by as many as 15 in the third quarter, fell to 24-8 at home. They were an NBA-best 34-7 at the Pepsi Center a season ago.
Even more alarming, Denver is 3-3 since the All-Star break.
”It’s a bad stretch,” Jokic said. ”Or maybe that’s us? You never know.”
Mychal Mulder started for Golden State and finished with 15 points. He was was signed to a 10-day contract last week.
”It’s a big one,” Mulder said of the victory. ”The Nuggets are a top team in the league.”
Warriors: F Draymond Green missed a third straight game with left knee soreness. … F Kevon Looney was out with left hip soreness. … G Chasson Randle signed a 10-day contract Tuesday and played 12 minutes. He did not score. Randle spent time this season with Tianjin Pioneers of the Chinese Basketball Association. … Kerr was given a technical with 4:08 remaining in the first half. … The Warriors made 18 3-pointers.
Nuggets: Denver was called for two defensive 3-second violations in the first half. … C Mason Plumlee had 16 points and nine boards. … Denver outrebounded Golden State by a 53-35 margin.
Kerr will meet with Stephen Curry and director of sports medicine and performance Rick Celebrini on Wednesday to determine when the standout guard will return. It could be as soon as Thursday against Toronto.
Curry has missed all but four games this season with a fractured left hand.
On Monday, Curry practiced with Golden State’s G League affiliate, Santa Cruz, before returning to the Warriors.
Jokic has been throwing one-handed, full-court outlet pass with more frequency this season.
”That’s something I spent a lot of time working with Nikola on,” Malone cracked. ”He’s finally understanding how to do it.”
The big man has the green light from Malone for the moderate-risk, high-reward pass.
”It’s a combination of Nikola’s vision, unselfishness and guys knowing he’s going to throw it so now let me get out there and run so I can catch it,” Malone said.
Warriors: Host the Toronto Raptors, the team they lost to in the NBA Finals last season, on Thursday.
Nuggets: On the road for two games beginning Thursday at Charlotte.
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