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Replay reversal gives Warriors a wild win over Nuggets

The SportsXchange

OAKLAND -- The Golden State Warriors felt they let one get away the last time the Denver Nuggets visited Oracle Arena earlier this month.

They improbably appeared to have done it again Thursday night, only to have the referees hand it back to them.

It took four video reviews in the final 3.4 seconds to determine a winner, but when the refs finally left the court, it was Golden State that was awarded a wild, 106-105 victory.

The Warriors weren't the first team to run down the locker room tunnel with arms raised. The Nuggets triumphantly took that path after Andre Iguodala, catching a crosscourt inbounds pass with 0.5 seconds remaining, swished a 24-foot 3-pointer that shocked the 17,627 in attendance and every Golden State fan watching the late-night national telecast on TNT.

However, video replay clearly showed the ball still in Iguodala's hands when the backboard's red, period-ending lights came on, sending the big crowd into a frenzy and Golden State to its first win in three early-season bouts with its Western Conference rival.

"I thought it was a long .5," Iguodala admitted afterward. "I've been in a few of those situations where it has been less than a second left and another team has made a crazy shot that has counted. I just haven't been on the winning side yet."

In the end, the hero turned out to be a guy who did nothing but run at an opponent he momentarily lost. Klay Thompson, who was assigned to Iguodala on the game-ending play, got his foe to hesitate slightly by lunging at him after the catch, and that perhaps tenth-of-a-second blip proved to be the difference between a satisfying victory and a disheartening defeat.

"People will say Iguodala hit the shot," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "But the run at him (by Thompson) made him hesitate."

Added Warriors guard Jarrett Jack, "We preach playing until there are three zeros on the clock. That's what we did."

After leading by as many as 12 in the first quarter and falling behind by 17 in the third, the Warriors took the lead for good at 104-102 on a David Lee interior hoop with 2:12 remaining.

It was 106-103 in Golden State's favor before Iguodala drew a three-shot foul on Jack with 3.4 seconds left, with the Warriors guard intentionally grabbing his opponent in an attempt to give up two free throws instead of three.

"It shouldn't have come down to (Iguodala's overturned 3-pointer)," Jack said, pointing a finger at himself. "We made a couple of mistakes down the stretch."

After video review confirmed Iguodala was fouled while shooting a 3-pointer, the former Philadelphia 76ers swingman made his first two free throws before missing badly on the potential game-tying third. But Denver retained possession with 2.1 seconds left when -- you guessed it -- video replay confirmed the Warriors' Draymond Green slapped the rebound away from Kenneth Faried and out of bounds.

After Stephen Curry deflected Andre Miller's inbounds pass over the baseline with just 0.5 seconds remaining (again, video replay was used to add 0.2 to the clock), the Nuggets were able -- almost -- to get off a game-winning 3.

"I was very confident that it didn't count, but I didn't know what the results were going to be," said Jackson, a former television analyst. "At the end of the day, I'm thankful we're at a time where we review it. Great camera work."

Forget replay. Nuggets coach George Karl wanted an old-fashioned stopwatch.

"If I put a stopwatch on ..." he said. "It seems like the clock started early to me."

Lee finished with 31 points, Thompson 21 and Curry a 20-point, 10-assist double-double for the Warriors, who felt they twice let a victory slip away in their previous Oakland encounter with the Nuggets on Nov. 10, falling 107-101 in two overtimes.

"The amount of similarities in the two games were crazy," Lee said. "The difference is we learned from our mistakes last time and won this one."

Added Jack, "This was almost like an old-school, East Coast basketball game. Punch after punch after punch. Luckily, we were able to have the last one tonight."

Iguodala had 22 points and Danilo Gallinari 20 for the Nuggets.

NOTES: The Warriors (8-6 this month) wrapped up their first winning month of November in five years ... Warriors center Andrew Bogut disclosed Wednesday he had microfracture surgery on his left ankle in April, after the club had labeled it nothing more than a minor procedure. "We don't want to fool anybody anymore," he said, noting he no longer has a timetable for his return. The Warriors previously hoped their prize acquisition from the Milwaukee Bucks last February could return to practice this week. Bogut did say he believes he will return at some point this season. ... Less than a full month into the season, the Nuggets and Warriors became the first teams to face each other three times. The Nuggets won the first two meetings, 107-101 in two overtimes on the road and 102-91 in the rematch at home. ... The game was televised nationally by TNT, one of just three games the Warriors will play in the Thursday night spotlight this season. The Nuggets are scheduled for eight games on Thursdays. ... As they were being televised on TNT, the Warriors announced ESPN had dropped their Dec. 14 game with Orlando. ... Asked beforehand if the rare national TV appearance meant anything special to the Warriors, Jackson said, "We didn't build this team to show everyone against the Denver Nuggets on one night. We want to sustain it." ... Karl tried to bite his tongue when asked to comment on commissioner David Stern's displeasure with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich sending several key players home instead of playing them in the TNT opener Thursday against the Miami Heat. "How you coach your team should be up to the organization and the coach," Karl said.
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