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The Denver Nuggets are figuring out news ways to win. In two of their first three games of the season, their vaunted offensive attack hasn’t fired on all cylinders. That was the case in Wednesday’s season opener and again versus the Golden State Warriors on Sunday.
Both times, they pulled out a win.
The Nuggets missed 19 of the first 22 shots they took, including 9 of 10 3-pointers, Sunday. They shot 32.6 percent from the field and misfired on 12 free throws in the first half alone. They overcame that sluggish start to pull out a 100-98 victory over the defending champs.
Denver seized control of the game in the third, a time of the game when the Warriors usually dominate. The Nuggets won the quarter 33-21. Gary Harris scored 12 of his team-high 28 points in the period. He attacked confidently coming off dribble handoff actions per usual, but he also looked good breaking his defender off the bounce.
Harris picked up some of the slack for fellow starters Jamal Murray (three points) and Paul Millsap (five points).
Several members of the Nuggets’ bench also had strong outings. Mason Plumlee gave us multiple memorable reverse finishes, and he finished with 11 points. Monte Morris (nine points, six rebounds, four assists) was in command all game.
The score was tied at 97 with 1:29 to go. Harris split a pair at the free throw line to put Denver ahead by one. With 11 seconds remaining, Millsap did the same. The Warriors had a chance to tie or take the lead, but Draymond Green followed Harris’ and Murray’s lead by also going 1 for 2 at the line.
Juancho Hernangomez blocked a Golden State attempt at the buzzer to preserve the win. The Nuggets have held opponents to less than 100 points in three consecutive games, which they didn’t accomplish once in 2017-18.