DENVER (AP) — The Golden State Warriors took to the road to work out some early season wrinkles in their overall game.
Kevin Durant scored 25 points, Stephen Curry had 22 and the Warriors rode a big third quarter to a 127-108 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night.
Klay Thompson and Draymond Green added 15 points apiece for the Warriors. They have won six of their last seven, including all three during their just concluded trip.
“Getting on the road was good for us,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Sometimes you need to get on the road to feel more threatened. A team like this especially that’s used to being successful. I thought we took a couple of home games for granted and we weren’t defending, we weren’t bring energy.”
Will Barton had 21 points off the bench to lead the Nuggets. None of Denver’s starters reached double figures in scoring.
Up by five at halftime, the Warriors forced a decisive turn in the game with a 24-4 run to start the third, taking an 84-59 lead when Curry hit a fall-away 3-pointer from the baseline after poking the ball away from Mason Plumlee for a steal.
The Warriors finished with 43 points in the third — the most points allowed by the Nuggets in a period this season — and took a 103-76 lead into the fourth quarter.
“I think everybody came out with great energy in the second half. We found something in the pick and roll and we tried to exploit it,” Durant said. “Guys were moving on the backside without the ball, finding the open area and knocking down shots.
“We didn’t play well a few games early on, but the last three games have been solid for us,” Durant added. “We’ll try to take it home and build on that.”
Durant had 13 of his points in the period and Curry added 12 in the same span, helping Golden State lead by as many as 29 points and outscore Denver by 22 points in the quarter.
“They just blitzed us and we didn’t respond,” Barton said.
Both teams began to substitute freely early in the fourth quarter and the Warriors coasted to the victory.
The Nuggets, trailing by 13 after the first quarter, scored 15 straight points to start the second behind their bench players and moved in front for the first time in the game on Barton’s fastbreak 3-pointer 38-36 midway through the period. But Golden State came back to lead 60-55 at the half, scoring nine of the last 13 points in the final two minutes of the quarter capped by Thompson’s 3-pointer off a feed from Curry an instant before the halftime buzzer sounded.
Golden State, showcasing its transition game and ball movement throughout the game, finished with 37 assists, including a game high 11 by Curry.
“They never cave in,” Barton said. “When we went on that run in the second quarter, they just kept playing, kept on making plays, stuck to their game plan and weathered the storm. And if we’re trying to be a good team, we’ve got to be able to do the same things.”
The Warriors shot 54.9 percent from the field, a season high by a Nuggets’ opponent and yet another signal of Goden State’s offensive potential on a nightly basis. “I don’t want to sit here and say we won’t do that all season, but as long as we get good shots, we give ourselves a chance to shoot a good percentage,” Green said.
Warriors: G Shaun Livingston was inactive for the game as part of a designated rest day. … F Damian Jones, the Warriors’ first-round pick, is on assignment with the team’s G League squad in Santa Cruz and could be there for a while. “He’s going to spend a lot of time down there because there’s no point in him coming up here and sitting on the bench,” Coach Steve Kerr said prior to the game. “He needs to play. I could see bringing him up once in a while and giving him some playing time if we had an injury or something but for the most part he needs to play.”
Nuggets: F Juancho Hernangomez remains sidelined because of a bout of mononucleosis. He has missed the past eight games. … Michigan State coach Tom Izzo was in attendance to see a pair of his former Spartan stars — Nuggets guard Gary Harris, who started 67 of his 68 career games under Izzo, and Warriors forward Green, a native of Saginaw, Michigan, who helped the Spartans to two Final Four appearances.
Warriors: Return home to host Miami on Monday night.
Nuggets: Host Brooklyn on Tuesday night in the midway point of a six-game homestand.
By DENNIS GEORGATOS
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