DENVER (AP) – Golden State coach Mark Jackson thought Stephen Curry‘s stat line was a thing of beauty.
Not so his dance.
After sinking one of his six 3-pointers as the Warriors pulled away from the Denver Nuggets for a 109-101 victory Thursday night, Curry did the old shimmy-shake as he trotted back downcourt.
It was admittedly the only blemish of the night for Curry, who scored a season-best 36 points and sank 13 of 17 shots, including 6 of 9 from behind the arc.
“Just a spectacular night. When you look at that stat line it’s a thing of beauty,” said Jackson, who didn’t extend his rave review to Curry’s lame dance move.
“I tried to hold my laugh and stay in coach mode but I had to giggle,” Jackson said. “Now I know why my dad told me to stop doing it.”
Curry was embarrassed by what he fears will become the most mocked dance by an athlete since New England Patriots tight end Rob Growkowski was caught on camera dancing the night away shirtless after the Super Bowl last weekend.
“I don’t know what got into me,” Curry said. “But I turned around and I saw (Jackson). We had joked about it earlier that it was his signature move. I haven’t practiced it but I’m scared to look at the film. That was the first time and probably the last time.”
The Nuggets had more of a problem with his hot hand than his shimmying shoulders.
They lost their fifth straight game overall and their fifth straight at home, too. They’ve lost seven of eight as they fight through injuries, absences, physical fatigue and mental exhaustion.
The eight-point differential doesn’t begin to tell how lopsided this one was.
The Warriors shot 52 percent both overall and from 3-point range, sinking 13 of 25 from behind the arc, they blocked 14 shots to Denver’s one and started the second half with a 24-5 run.
“That was horrible,” Nuggets guard Arron Afflalo said. “You’ve got to give the Warriors credit, but on our home floor, that was horrible.”
Trailing 51-47 at the half, Golden State opened the third quarter with a 14-2 run sparked by three jumpers from Curry and a fadeaway basket by Ellis that made it 61-53.
A 3-pointer by Afflalo, who led the Nuggets with 26 points, stopped the run. But the Warriors scored the next 10 points, capped by a 3-pointer from Curry, who did the regrettable shoulder-shake dance back downcourt in front of the scorer’s table.
The Warriors made 14 of 20 shots in the decisive third quarter, taking an 84-71 lead, and they led by 20 points in the fourth quarter.
“I think we just stopped doing the things that we were doing earlier, and I blame myself for that because I was supposed to bring the energy,” said Nuggets rookie Kenneth Faried, who set career highs with 10 points and eight rebounds. “We just need to stay focused on and not get down on each other.”
The Nuggets look nothing like the team that started out 14-5 and was the feel-good story of the NBA for the first six weeks of the season following the long lockout.
Forward Corey Brewer will get the majority of Gallinari’s minutes during the month he’s expected to be out, but Brewer missed his third straight game Thursday night following the death of his father. He’s expected to rejoin the team at Indiana this weekend.
After the Nuggets’ 10-point loss to Dallas a night earlier, coach George Karl suggested playing in Lithuania during the NBA lockout might have caught up to speedy point guard Ty Lawson.
Lawson had his second straight double-double Thursday night but several of his short shots again didn’t fall.
Overall, Karl said his team hadn’t recovered from three games in three nights last week, suggesting there was a residual effect both mentally and physically on his team. Every team will go through funks during this compressed season, and this is just the Nuggets’ turn to endure the quirks of the busy schedule, Karl said.
He figures the Nuggets’ good start gave them a bit of a buffer for tough times like these. Still, opponents are now coming into the Pepsi Center smelling blood.
“The last two home losses we’ve had, teams have just hit incredible shots,” Afflalo said. “That’s a credit to them a little bit, but our defensive intensity, including myself, needs to pick up.”
Notes: Afflalo had the second-highest scoring game of his career with the 26 points. He scored 31 on Jan. 11, 2011, against Phoenix. … Curry’s previous season high was 32 points against Portland on Jan. 25. … The Nuggets hadn’t lost five straight at the Pepsi Center since 2003.
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