Two weeks after Nuggets upset Warriors, teams meet again
OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Golden State Warriors get an opportunity to avenge one of their most stunning defeats in recent years on Monday night when they host the Denver Nuggets.
The Warriors (32-8) had won an NBA-best 11 straight games when the Nuggets came to town on Dec. 23 and clobbered them 96-81.
It not only was the Warriors' most lopsided home loss of the season, but also the second-largest margin of defeat in a home game in Steve Kerr's four years as head coach. Only the San Antonio Spurs' 29-point romp in the 2016 opener was bigger.
Also, the 81-point total was the Warriors' lowest at home in the Kerr era.
The Nuggets did it by limiting the Warriors to 3-of-27 shooting on 3-pointers, with Klay Thompson (1 of 10) and Kevin Durant (0 of 5) combining to go 1 of 15.
The Warriors were without Stephen Curry, out with a sprained ankle.
"What a great effort. What a great performance. What a great win for us," Nuggets coach Michael Malone proclaimed afterward. "Wilson Chandler on Kevin Durant, and Gary Harris guarding Klay Thompson ... not just them but the whole team. But those guys took that challenge head-on and did a phenomenal job."
Ignited by back-to-back road wins at Portland and Golden State, Denver (21-18) has won five of its last eight games, although it is coming off a 106-98 loss at Sacramento on Saturday.
The chances of duplicating last month's feat at Golden State are slim, but two things will be working in the Nuggets' favor when they take the court Monday.
First, Denver is one of just three teams to have beaten Golden State at least four times in the last four seasons. Memphis (four) and San Antonio (five) are the other two.
In fact, the Nuggets have at least one win over the Warriors in 15 consecutive seasons.
And the Warriors appear far more vulnerable at home this season than in the previous three under Kerr, when they lost a total of nine home games. They've already been beaten five times at home this season, including by the likes of Charlotte and Sacramento.
The Warriors are coming off a 3-0 trip, winning the last two games without Kevin Durant, who suffered a strained right calf in the trip opener at Dallas.
Golden State appears to be being cautious with the calf ailment this time around after Durant returned from a similar injury following a one-game layoff in November, only to aggravate the problem and have to sit out three more games.
Durant disputed the notion that the Warriors are being overly conservative this time around.
"I need to feel better," he said Saturday. "I'm not thinking about playoffs or how to get rest. I just want my calf to feel better so that I can go out there and play the way I play. I don't want any restrictions out there."
The Warriors have formally listed Durant as questionable for Monday's game.
The Nuggets continue to be without star forward Paul Millsap, who underwent surgery on a torn ligament in his wrist in November. He might be out until March.
Updated January 7, 2018