Lee, Warriors surge past Nuggets
Updated On: Dec 23 2013 11:50:05 PM CST
DENVER -- The last time David Lee played in the Pepsi Center, he needed help off the court. On Monday, the forward carried the Golden State Warriors team when his teammates struggled.
Lee had 28 points and 10 rebounds, and the Warriors used a late push to beat the Denver Nuggets 89-81.
Golden State guard Stephen Curry endured a cold shooting night but scored 14 points. Guard Klay Thompson scored 13 and forward Andre Iguodala had 12 points for the Warriors.
It was Lee who picked up the slack on a rare off night for Curry and Thompson.
"Last time I played in this building wasn't the greatest result, so I wanted to come out early and attack the basket," he said.
Lee suffered a torn hip flexor in Game 1 of the first-round playoff series last spring, and he didn't play the rest of the series. The guards keyed the Warriors' upset of Denver.
This time, Lee led the way with his 12th consecutive double-double.
"He was awesome tonight," Iguodala said.
Lee's big night helped deflect boos the fans sent toward Iguodala. The swingman, who helped lead Denver to the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference last season, was a free agent in the summer. He spurned overtures from the Nuggets and eventually moved to the Warriors in a three-team, sign-and-trade deal.
He didn't seem to mind the Bronx cheers he heard throughout the game, especially when he hit a key 3-pointer that gave the Warriors an 83-78 lead.
"It's just our day and age in sports now," Iguodala said. "So many transactions, and fans are so into it now. With the (social) media, they're so close to the game."
Denver guard Ty Lawson had 16 points but was held scoreless in the fourth quarter. Center Timofey Mozgov had 14 points and 11 rebounds for Denver, which lost a season-high fourth game in a row.
The Nuggets hurt themselves with four missed dunks and 18 turnovers.
"We're not playing good basketball. We're not playing good basketball this month," said Denver guard Andre Miller, who had 14 points and eight assists off the bench. "We have to find a way to get into a rhythm."
The Nuggets thought they had it in the fourth, but they couldn't close it out.
With Denver leading 75-74 midway through the final period, Lee hit two free throws and a turnaround bank shot to give the Warriors a 78-77 lead.
Denver made only one field goal the rest of the way, Thompson's jumper that made it 85-80 with 22 seconds left.
"The last 10 games I've tried to be very aggressive, especially to start games, and attack the rim," Lee said. "Tonight was no exception."
The Nuggets' defense and Golden State's cold shooting in the third quarter helped turn things around for Denver. After the Warriors took a 52-45 lead two minutes into the second half, they missed five consecutive shots as the Nuggets went on a 10-0 run.
Denver led 66-64 heading into the fourth.
The Warriors started the game strong, leading by 10 in the first five minutes and by 15 after Curry's 3-pointer with 5:15 left in the first quarter.
Guard Nate Robinson came off the bench to help the Nuggets get within eight at the end of the period. With Curry in foul trouble, Denver chipped away and cut it to 41-39 on forward J.J. Hickson's dunk. After Curry picked up his fourth foul, Lawson tied it at 41 with two free throws.
Golden State scored the last four points to take a 47-43 lead at halftime.
Curry finished 5-for-14 from the floor. Thompson started the game 2-for-10 but made four of six shots in the fourth.
Unlike in the playoffs last year, the Warriors didn't need the starting backcourt to carry them.
"They got some open shots, and for the first time I can remember, (the shots) didn't fall," Lee said. "We can survive that at home, but on the road, you need every bit of offense you can get."
NOTES: Nuggets F Kenneth Faried, who sprained his left ankle in Saturday's loss against the Los Angeles Clippers, did not dress. Coach Brian Shaw said the injury was not serious and that Faried could play in Denver's next game, Friday against the Pelicans in New Orleans. ... Nuggets G Ty Lawson is one of six players in the league averaging 17 points and seven assists per game. ... The Warriors lead the NBA in games decided by four points or fewer. They are 4-7 in those games.