Warriors' free-throw woes let Nuggets pull out 2-OT win

Dave Del Grande, Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

OAKLAND -- After watching his team take advantage of an opponent that missed four potentially game-changing free throws, Denver Nuggets coach George Karl knew his side was a bit lucky Saturday night.
More than that, the veteran coach chalked up the Nuggets' fourth consecutive victory -- a 107-101, double-overtime stunner over the Golden State Warriors -- to something else: courage.
"We couldn't make a shot," Karl said after Denver won a game in which it shot poorly from inside, outside and the free-throw line. "The courage we demonstrated was very impressive."
Although they were playing for the fourth time in five nights, the Nuggets stored up enough energy to score the final 11 points of the second overtime to rally from five down in the last two minutes.
After the Nuggets had misfired on 19 of their first 22 3-point attempts, Andre Iguodala and Dalino Gallinari buried 3s on successive possessions. The Nuggets seemed to gain renewed belief after two missed free throws by the Warriors' Carl Landry with 1:22 to go in the second overtime.
Iguodala and Gallinari each dropped in a pair of subsequent free throws to ice a victory that appeared destined for the Golden State column at stages late in regulation and in both overtimes.
"This is the worst I've felt after a game," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "We've got to be disappointed. It's just a bad feeling."
After a scoreless first half, Gallinari had 21 points to top the Nuggets. Iguodala added 19, and Kenneth Faried contributed 18 points and 17 rebounds to the winning effort.
Denver (4-3) won despite shooting just 38.1 percent overall. The Nuggets were far worse from behind the 3-point arc (20.8 percent), and they hit just 16 of 27 foul shots (59.3 percent).
"We're learning how to win on the road. It's not easy," Karl said following the Nuggets' second road win in four days. "Wins like this help you develop the toughness that matters in April and May."
Klay Thompson paced Golden State with 23 points. Landry had 22, including two interior hoops during a 7-0 Warriors run early in the second overtime that helped Golden State match its biggest lead of the night at 101-96.
Then nothing else went right for the Warriors, which left David Lee (18 points, nine rebounds) feeling worse than when he was flu-ridden in Golden State's previous game.
"I never want to go through a game like this ever again," Lee said. "There are games like this every season. You win two or three of them, and then there are two or three others ...
"I won't sleep until we get back on the court on Wednesday."
The Warriors blew opportunities to end the game five and 10 minutes earlier, with the end of the first overtime particularly aggravating to the home crowd.
Stephen Curry's 17-footer with 47.8 seconds remaining in the first extra session gave Golden State a 94-92 lead. When Iguodala and Andre Miller both failed on the Denver end, the Nuggets had no choice but to foul Thompson with 13.0 seconds left.
The second-year guard, who entered the game having made 14 of his 17 foul shots, proceeded to miss both attempts, opening the door for Gallinari to tie the game on a driving dunk with 2.1 seconds left.
Afterward, Jackson was more upset by Gallinari's basket than Thompson's misses. The Warriors could have used a foul without penalty on the big guy's long drive to the hoop, but they failed to do so even after having been informed it was an option at a timeout immediately before the play.
"We made critical mistakes down the stretch that are simple basketball plays to make," Jackson said. "The bottom line is: We can't make these mistakes. The good teams, the playoff teams, the elite teams ... they don't make these mistakes."
Both teams had a chance to break an 86-all tie in the final 28.8 seconds of regulation, with the Warriors getting the ultimate opportunity after forcing a Miller turnover with 7.4 seconds left.
However, Jarrett Jack, whose driving hoop with 28.8 seconds left had pulled Golden State even, couldn't make it two in a row. He missed badly on a well-defended runner down the right side of the lane with little time remaining.
"We're tough. We've got grit and toughness, and our defense is amazing right now," Faried said. "Honestly, we're just playing our hearts out, and everybody is doing their defensive assignments. We did what we had to do tonight in order to win in double overtime."
NOTES: Faried's double-double was the eighth by a Warriors opponent in seven games this season. Golden State has allowed at least one in every game ... The Nuggets also entered the game having watched an opponent record a double-double in each game, but that streak ended when Lee came up one rebound short ... The Warriors will honor Don Nelson's selection to the Basketball Hall of Fame during Wednesday's home game against the Hawks. Asked before the game how Nelson had influenced his career, longtime friend and colleague Karl said, "He contributed to me; I didn't contribute to him. I stole more from him than he stole from me."