Warriors 116, Nuggets 114
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)
Carmelo Anthony wandered the floor frantically, screaming and waving for the ball. A wild scramble up court on Denver's final possession ended with Nene hoisting a fallaway shot and Anthony never even touching the ball.
Surprised the Nuggets didn't call timeout?
''No,'' Warriors guard Monta Ellis muttered, smiling. ''But I'm glad they didn't.''
All Anthony could do after the final possession was flick his head band to the floor in disgust. He walked off the court quickly, heading to the locker room clearly upset after scoring 29 points only to watch the Nuggets botch their last chance.
''We made a good defensive stop, J.R. (Smith) got the rebound, I was calling for it and then I saw him just take off,'' Anthony said. ''And then I'm thinking he's going to take it across half court, get control of it and call timeout. But it didn't happen like that. And then I'm thinking, 'Why didn't George call timeout either?
''Even if we did call timeout, we had a chance to set something up,'' Anthony continued. ''We still had a chance to take a shot that we might have felt good with. To have seven or nine seconds left in the game, I feel pretty confident at that time with the ball in my hands to make something happen.''
He didn't get the chance.
The Warriors were just fine with that.
Wright had 23 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, and David Lee had 16 points and 12 rebounds to help the Warriors close out their longest home stretch of the season in style. They finished 8-6 during a stretch of 13 of 14 at home.
Nene had 17 points for a Nuggets team playing without starting point guard Chauncey Billups. Billups sat out with a strained left knee but expects to play Thursday night against the Dallas Mavericks in Denver.
Nuggets coach George Karl defended his decision of not calling timeout, insisting that with Billups out they had a better chance to score by not letting the Warriors set up their defense.
''I thought we'd miss some by trying to score without their defense being set,'' Karl said. ''I thought Ty (Lawson) had a great opportunity to attack the rim and he kind of deferred to Nene. He got a good shot, but not great shot. I always liked pushing that play and it didn't work tonight.''
The Nuggets had to rally late even to get things that close.
After they trimmed a 13-point deficit to only one, Ellis answered with a 3-pointer with 47.7 seconds remaining to give Golden State a 116-112 lead. J.R Smith came back with a jumper, and Denver had one final chance to send it to overtime or win.
But the final possession ended with the errant, step-back shot from Nene that missed - his only miss of the game after making his first six shots. It was about the worst possible way for Denver to end the night, and perhaps the best way for Golden State to close out a long homestand.
While they finished with a winning mark, they had talked about aiming even higher and trying to get into the Western Conference playoff picture. Instead, Golden State (23-28) is still five-games below .500 and heading into a difficult part of its schedule.
''I thought we did what we could,'' Warriors coach Keith Smart said. ''A couple games got away from us, but I think (closing with) four out of five (wins) won't be too bad.''
The Warriors can at least take some momentum with them on the road.
They withstood another strong performance by Anthony and regained their shooting spark after a 2-for-18 performance from 3-point range in a loss against Phoenix on Monday. Golden State overcame a 10-point deficit early and clamped down defensively late to pull away from the Nuggets, going ahead 97-84 in the third quarter.
They didn't do much to slow down Anthony.
Not that much has these days.
Anthony has had trade talk swirling around him from New York to Los Angeles since he declined a three-year, $65 million extension in June. Two deals with the New Jersey Nets have collapsed, others have heated up and cooled off, but many still expect he'll be moved by the Feb. 24 trade deadline so the Nuggets don't risk losing him to free agency next summer for nothing.
Anthony brushed aside all the talk again to almost rally the Nuggets.
He only hoped he had one more shot.
NOTES: Karl said he thought G Arron Afflalo should have been invited to play in the 3-point contest during All-Star weekend. Afflalo began Wednesday shooting almost 45 percent from beyond the arc. ''I guess Arron needs a little more personality,'' Karl joked. ... The Warriors paid tribute to Hall of Famer Rick Barry, a member of the 1974-75 championship team who was in attendance, at the end of the first quarter.