Nuggets fall flat in 112-97 loss to Warriors

Published April 8, 2012 5:27AM (EDT)

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — David Lee had 17 points and nine rebounds, and the Golden State Warriors got a big lift from their bench to put a dent in Denver's playoff hopes with a 112-97 victory over the Nuggets on Saturday night.

Reserves Brandon Rush added 20 points, Nate Robinson had 14 points and seven assists, and Richard Jefferson scored 10 points to help the Warriors to a rare blowout victory at home.

Denver could have moved into the sixth spot in the Western Conference with a win, but instead dropped into the No. 8 seed, a half-game behind Houston and Dallas.

Ty Lawson had 21 points and six assists for the Nuggets, who were outrebounded and gave up 58 points in the paint.

A day after a 105-99 victory over Phoenix, Denver came out fast but finished flat against a Warriors team that had lost 12 of its previous 15 games and is playing without Stephen Curry.

Instead of enhancing their position in the West, the Nuggets now are on the fringe of the playoffs as the regular season is winding down.

Nuggets coach George Karl's team has dropped both of its games with Golden State this season and doesn't have much time to find a solution. The teams play again in Denver on Monday.

This one is bound to stick with the Nuggets for a bit.

They jumped out to an early lead behind Aaron Afflalo and had the Warriors on their heels before Golden State rallied.

Coming off a 30-point night Friday, Afflalo had 13 in the first quarter, including a leaning 19-footer with the Warriors' Klay Thompson draped over him as the shot clock buzzer sounded.

That was about as good as it got for the Nuggets.

After Rush's 32-footer as time expired in the opening period pulled Golden State within 27-26, Lee and Dominic McGuire combined for 15 points in the second quarter to help the Warriors go up by seven at the break.

The Nuggets trailed by as much as 17 and looked nothing like a team in the thick of a playoff hunt before making their best run of the night in the third behind Al Harrington.

The former Warrior scored eight points in just over two minutes, raising his arms to the booing crowd at Oracle Arena after his fourth 3-pointer of the night cut Golden State's lead to 79-71. Harrington later earned a delay of game penalty that resulted in a technical foul.

Denver, still playing without injured forward Danilo Gallinari, got within 92-87 on Andre Miller's reverse layup with 7:32 left in the fourth but managed only four buckets the rest of the way

Afflalo finished with 16 points while Miller had 14 off the bench.

Notes: Denver, which tied a franchise record with only five turnovers in Friday's victory, had eight in the first quarter alone against Golden State and finished with 16 overall. ... Nuggets G Wilson Chandler underwent a second MRI on his strained groin but results were not disclosed. Chandler, who missed his fourth straight game, is scheduled to meet with doctors on Monday to further discuss the situation. ... Karl said Gallinari (fractured left thumb) is expected to play on Monday after missing 10 games with a fractured left thumb.

By Salon Staff

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