The Denver Nuggets are by far the nicest surprise of the NBA season. Jokic and the rest of the boys from Colorado are playing above all expectations. They were fired-up before tonight’s match with the champions and their biggest rival for the No.1 place in the Western Conference, the Golden State Warriors.
After the first quarter, the situation had been totally the opposite. Champs dismantled the hosts 51-38.
“That’s why they are back-to-back champions,” said Jokic after the game regarding the Warriors first quarter. “We need to learn from them.”
Serbian center finished this match with 17 points and 8 rebounds, for just 23 minutes, as he didn’t have to spend more time on the floor. His team was way behind already at the halftime.
The Warriors held a basketball clinic, setting numerous record in the opening sequence of the match. They scored 51 points, setting a new NBA record for the first quarter. Curry and the crew managed to hit 10 three-pointers, silencing the crowd at Pepsi Center. It was the new franchise record for a single period.
— NBA (@NBA) January 16, 2019
Right from the opening moments, the guests set the tone of this contest and imposed their tempo of play. It was obvious that they had a lot of motive to prove themselves against the team which might be their biggest challenger for the title this season.
“Give them credit. They’ve come here and showed why they’re one of the best teams in the world, and they weren’t multiple champions of the world for a reason.” Mike Malone told after the match.
And it seems that the Nuggets coach perfectly understood what is the main thing here.
“They sent a message, They came in, and kicked our a**s” Malone was honest without any pretending.
Steph Curry and Klay Thompson dropped 31 points each. The “Splash Brother” made 13 threes from 21 attempts. Kevin Durant was merciless, missing only five of his 15 shots from the field for 27 points. He too was excellent for three, 5 of 7.
— NBA (@NBA) January 16, 2019
When you allow these three guys to get into their mode, a catastrophe is on sight. One of them can hurt you really bad, imagine all three. That is what Denver experienced from the first hand.
“I don’t remember a better first quarter. That was a fireworks show.” Steve Kerr said after the contest.”Beautiful, beautiful basketball. Just liked the way our guys moved the ball, the shot fakes, playing with purpose, playing with a simple style of execution but aggressive at the same time.”
The Warriors scored 21 three-pointers in 39 attempts, which is 53.8%. Overall, they were 60% from the field, and it is very difficult to defeat them when they catch such a rhythm. That is what Steph Curry also said to the reporters in his interview.
“When we make shots, we’re a tough team to beat,” the two-time MVP of the league stated.
Denver had a good night when looking their shooting percentage, as they made 49% of their attempts and scored 60 points until the halftime. The hosts had 38 in the opening quarter, which is superb. Nevertheless, they were down 19 at the break.
What is also interesting is the fact that Warriors completely dominated in the air, having 50 boards, while on the other side, Nuggets picked up only 36.
Whether it was one of those nights when GSW is unstoppable or Nuggets’ meltdown, nobody can avoid the fact that we saw a huge beating last night. The champs totally revenged for a defeat in October, when Denver won a thriller in Colorado, 100-98.
The champions reclaimed the No.1 spot in the West, by jumping over the Nuggets after this encounter. Still, they are just half a game ahead, as they have 30 wins, one more than their first challenger, with the same number of defeats, 14.
Up next, they will be heading back home, to play against the Pelicans in second of back-to-back nights. Denver has a nice chance to heal very quickly, as they host the Chicago Bulls on Thursday.
Without question, this is just the beginning of an interesting battle for the top of the West. The Nuggets are a young team, and they have a lot to learn as Jokic said. And they do lean quickly.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.