DENVER (AP)—Golden State’s reserves stepped up to help Antawn Jamison.
“The last three games the starters, including Jamison, have had to really work hard at the defensive end, and tonight some other guys got an opportunity,” Golden State coach Eric Musselman said. “We played some guys that were fresh and they came up with some big time contributions.”
Reserves Earl Boykins and Chris Mills had 14 points each as the Warriors bench outscored Denver’s reserves by 26. The Warriors needed the help as Jamison was held to nine points on 2-for-5 shooting, a day after he scored 17 in a 115-93 defeat of Atlanta.
“We were coming off a back-to-back, and our starters have done a great job for us all season long,” Musselman said. “We felt like we were a little bit lethargic, and for good reason.”
“It hurts. It really hurt,” Denver coach Jeff Bzdelik said. “We’ve lost 45 times now and it is like getting hit 45 times.”
Howard got the Nuggets within four, 88-84, with a jumper with 1:06 left, but Boykins and Bob Sura each made two free throws. Howard’s jam closed the gap to 92-89, but Mills sealed the win with two free throws with 10 seconds left.
Mills accounted for the first six points for the Warriors in the fourth quarter as they extended their lead to 81-68, but the Nuggets battled back to 83-77 with 5:45 left on two free throws by Donnell Harvey and a three-point play by Howard.
“It was just important for our team, because our starters came out pretty flat,” said Mills, who had seven of his 13 points in the fourth quarter. “Coach went to the bench and needed us to produce because we definitely wanted to get this game.”
Howard scored four points during an 8-0 run to start the second half that cut Golden State’s lead to 52-46. Arenas ended the run with a 15-footer. Jamison then ended his scoring drought with two free throws with 9:04 left in the quarter and, when he made his first field goal, the Warriors were up 60-50 with 6:42 left in the third.
Sura had a layup off a steal in the last minute as Golden State took a 75-67 lead into the fourth.
Adonal Foyle began a 13-0 run with a three-point play as Golden State led 30-22 to start the second quarter. The Nuggets missed their first 10 shots before Rodney White tipped in his miss with 7:38 left.
“The second quarter was the key,” Bzdelik said. “We missed 16 shots in the paint and many of the 25 layups we missed on the night.”
The Nuggets made only 6-of-26 shots in the second quarter as Golden State took a 52-38 lead into halftime.
“Boykins and their bench did a great job,” said Harvey who finished with10 points. “They led their team really stepped it up.”
It was the second straight game Golden State held an opponent under 100 points after giving up 100 in its previous eight. … Denver’s Hilario glared at Mike Dunleavy and had to be restrained by teammates after a hard foul in the second quarter. … Marcus Camby. who has missed 50 games with a variety of injuries, played in two straight games for the second time this year. …Denver is 1-26 when giving up at least 90 points.