Janny Hu, Chronicle Staff Writer
Saturday, December 29, 2007
23:15 PST Oakland -- Warriors coach Don Nelson had no complaints after his team dropped a 124-120 thriller to the Nuggets on Friday, but that didn't stop his players - and Stephen Jackson in particular - from believing that Golden State let one slip away.
"It was a big game, playoff atmosphere, two great scores, great team, great coach. Everything was set," Jackson said. "If I play better, we win. Point blank. I shot the ball poorly today. My team relied on me to win tonight and I didn't play well."
Jackson had a chance to hit a go-ahead three-pointer with 11.9 seconds to go, but his shot, like most on the night, was off the mark and hit the side of the rim. Nuggets center Marcus Camby hit two free throws on the other end to seal the win.
Jackson led the Warriors with 32 points, but made 9 of 27 shots, and Baron Davis added 29 points and 13 assists. But Golden State simply could not stop Denver's superstar tandem of Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson, who combined for 69 points while Camby added 15 points and 16 rebounds.
"They have a roster full of really good players, big in size and talent and everything else," Nelson said. "It's how can we compete and find a way to win."
The Warriors found a way to stay close, but no matter how spirited their rallies where, they just couldn't get on the right side of the scoreboard in the second half.
After trailing for most of the night, Davis blocked a shot by Anthony and Monta Ellis finished off a Warriors' fast break with a layup to make it 118-116. The Warriors then forced the Nuggets into a shot clock violation and Davis hit a baby jumper to tie the game at 118-118 with 1:12 left.
But Iverson, as he'd done all night, banked in a runner from 9 feet out with 56 seconds left, and the Warriors got no closer than two points the rest of the way. With a chance to take the lead, Davis drove inside and kicked it out to Kelenna Azubuike, who passed up an open three and swung it to Jackson, who missed his ninth three of the night.
For the longest time, it seemed as if the Warriors would not catch up. They closed within 78-75 behind three-pointers by Davis, Jackson and Barnes early in the third quarter. Then, after Andris Biedrins blocked a shot, Davis hit an 18-footer to make it a one-point game.
But long step-back jumpers by Anthony (30 points) and Iverson (39) had the Nuggets back up by eight. The score was 97-94 with 2:43 to go in the third when Jackson's three-point attempt went halfway into the basket before rimming back out again late in the third quarter. A few minutes later, the Nuggets were again up by eight.
Jackson ended the third quarter with a buzzer-beating three-pointer and Davis started the fourth with another three to cut the deficit to 102-100.
The Warriors finally tied the game at 104-104 on a driving layup by Azubuike with 9:18 to go.
Hudson to have surgery: Injured guard Troy Hudson said he will undergo surgery after Jan. 1 to repair a torn labrum in his hip - a procedure that will likely end his season with rehabilitation expected to take three to four months. "But it's not a career-threatening procedure like we though it might have been," said Hudson, 31.
Briefly: With his starting lineup accounting for nearly all the minutes and production recently, Nelson says he'll need his bench to produce during this tough stretch against Western Conference contenders. "As you play against the good teams, you can't expect to keep your starters on the floor as much," Nelson said. "They have to expel more energy, whether it's playing against better players, bigger teams, the whole thing. You need more support from your bench. ... You can say, 'Well, they're not playing well because I haven't given them an opportunity.' That's not going to be the case over the next six games. They're going to get the opportunity and they need to perform." The reserves had combined for just seven, five and 13 points in the three games prior to Friday's 23-point output. ... The crowd of 20,001 was the Warriors' 11th sellout in 14 home games.
E-mail Janny Hu at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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