It was the return of Harrison Barnes to his old stomping grounds, but fellow University of North Carolina alum James McAdoo, a third-stringer on the Golden State Warriors, stole the show by scoring 20 points in 20 minutes of play, utilizing putback dunks and layups through the lane, helping the Warriors come back from a double-digit deficit against the Denver Nuggets to win their fourth straight preseason game, 104-101.
The court at Wells Fargo Arena was painted in Iowa State Cyclones red-and-yellow colors, contrasting sharply with not only the Warriors’ usual blue-and-gold trim, but also the Nuggets’ baby blue:
Head coach Steve Kerr had already made the decision and announced at Wednesday’s practice that David Lee and Andrew Bogut would get the night off, with the back-to-back against the Miami Heat looming the next day. He had also announced that Barnes would start, and not just because he was back in Iowa. Andre Iguodala would come off the bench behind Barnes at small forward.
Things got off to an auspicious start as the Timofy Mozgov won the opening tipoff against Bogut’s replacement, Ognjen Kuzmic, and Kenneth Faried stormed the lane for the first two points.
Barnes took the first shot for the Warriors, but a three-pointer missed. Not losing a step from his gold medal run with Team USA, Faried scored twice more, but Barnes countered with a made three. It would be Barnes’s only bucket until the last six seconds of the game.
Mozgov and Faried would take turns abusing the Warriors’ starting front line of Kuzmic and Draymond Green, combining for 17 points as the Nuggets held an early 21-18 lead. The #SplashBrothers due of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson would keep the Dubs close; along with the lone bucket by Barnes, they scored 14 of those 18 points.
The Warriors went on to commit 6 turnovers in the opening frame and trailed 34-29. Mozgov and Faried combined for 23 points and 7 rebounds, but Curry and Thompson didn’t let things get out of hand, helping the Warriors go 4-for-7 from downtown.
Here were some highlights from the seond quarter:
- Brandon Rush volleyball spike blocked shot.
- Iguodala turned the ball over three times.
- The Nuggets’ Gary Harris slam-dunked over Kuzmic for an and-one.
- Wilson Chandler dunked on Barnes.
- #SplashBrothers sat for a bit, but when they went back in, trimmed the lead again.
- Marreese Speights played well, nailing a jumper and delivering a baseball pass to Thompson for an and-one.
At halftime, the Warriors trailed, 62-53. Thompson had accumulated 18 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, and 2 blocked shots in just 17 minutes of play. Curry added 13. Klay had amassed 77 points in just 94 minutes of play in the three-and-a-half preseason games.
Kerr decided to sit the #SplashBrothers, so it was Aaron Craft, Leandro Barbosa, Barnes, Green, and Kuzmic to start the second half.
Kuzmic soon picked up his 4th personal foul, forcing Kerr to go with Speights at the 5 again.
Kerr also got a technical foul for arguing with the referee. According to Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle, the only Bay Area beatwriter covering the game, Kerr thanked an official for the technical and then continued his rant:
The bench couldn’t close the double-digit gap. Craft got a steal at the end of the third quarter but couldn’t convert it into points at the buzzer. The Warriors entered the final frame down 85-72.
Things seemed to get worse as Kuzmic missed a dunk, picked up his 5th foul, and Justin Holiday had his dunk blocked at the rim by Jusuf Nurkic. It was one of five blocked attempts by the Warriors on this night.
The Nuggets’ radio play-by-play announcer then described yet another dunk by the Nuggets as “ole” defense by Holiday.
Kerr continued to sit Curry, Thompson, and Green, allowing Iguodala and Barnes to be mixed in with a variety of combinations of Summer League players such as Nemanja Nedovic, Craft, Holiday, and McAdoo.
A Holiday slam dunk trimmed the lead to 7. Followed by a Nuggets timeout, Iguodala made a jumper and McAdoo converted another dunk, evaporating the Nuggets’ lead to 97-94 with just 3:28 to go. On the floor with Iguodala and Barnes were Nedovic, Jason Kapono and McAdoo.
Without TV coverage, the referees had to use the replay on the arena jumbotron to review a three-pointer. Erick Green of the Nuggets then hit a long jumper which was also reviewed. The momentum-killing review took a point off Denver’s slim lead, 99-97 with just 1:54 to go.
Then Kapono drilled a semi-fadeaway three-pointer and the Warriors were up. McAdoo missed a layup that would’ve been a nail in the coffin, but then came back and dunked home an airball by Barnes to give the Warriors a 102-99 lead.
After an Erick Green airball, Barnes made a corner jumper with 6 seconds to play to seal the win for the Warriors, 104-101.
McAdoo finished with 20 points on 7-for-10 from the floor, 6-for-7 from the free throw line, and 7 rebounds.
Barnes had a pedestrian line of 5 points on just 2-for-8 from the field, but made the clutch bucket when the Warriors needed it most. The #SplashBrothers showed why they are one of the most potent duos in the league, not skipping a beat from the first three games and showing remarkable consistency, while the never-say-die attitude of the bench from role players fighting for a roster spot was most impressive.
#Warriors 104, #Nuggets 101, FINAL. Great comeback by #DubNation led by #JamesMcAdoo's 20 points and many putbacks. #SplashBrothers were great again, #JasonKapono hit a clutch trey, and although #HarrisonBarnes only scored 5 points, his last bucket sealed the deal. Check our website at #LetsGoWarriors.com or click on the forthcoming link in our IG profile for the recap! #NBA #GoldenStateWarriors #GSW #GoDubs