Denver at Golden State

With Karl absent, Billups scores 37 to lead Nuggets past Warriors

CBSSports.com wire reports
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- Denver's Chauncey Billups chatted amicably with an antagonizing fan in the crowd, then casually strolled over to the home team's bench and hugged Golden State trainer Tom Abdenour.

That's how easy and relaxed the Nuggets were in their first game without coach George Karl since he revealed he has neck and throat cancer.

Billups had 37 points and nine rebounds, Carmelo Anthony added 27 points and Denver beat Golden State 127-112 on Thursday night.

"As a player you always find confidence and that calmness when you look over there and your head coach is sitting on the bench, so it was a little different not having him out there," Billups said. "But on the flip side [assistant coach Adrian Dantley] did a great job controlling the game and with his play-calling. But it was weird without [Karl]."

Karl, who disclosed he has cancer Feb. 16, stayed in Denver to receive treatment but is expected back Friday night at home against Detroit.

He had to like what he saw his team do against the Warriors.

The Nuggets set a season high with 16 3-pointers, completed a four-game sweep of Golden State for the first time since 2000-01 and remained unbeaten in 23 games when scoring 110 points or more.

Before the game, Karl called Dantley and offered a few words.

"George told us just to focus on the game and not worry about him," Dantley said. "The main thing with George is he wanted the win. We got that. It was weird but I'm glad this game is over."

J.R. Smith had 25 points and had seven 3-pointers, while Billups added six 3s.

Stephen Curry had 30 points and 13 assists for Golden State, which has lost 13 of its past 16 to drop to 16-41.

"I have no problems with this game," Warriors coach Don Nelson said. "We competed for four quarters, gave them everything that we had and it wasn't enough."

Denver led comfortably most of the night, though the Nuggets got sloppy at times. Twice they allowed Golden State to whittle big leads down to single digits, but answered each time to turn the Warriors away while extending their lead to a full game on Utah in the Northwest Division.

Denver built a 19-point lead midway through the second quarter, made nine 3-pointers in the first half and got another All-Star effort from Billups, who had 19 before intermission.

Anthony added 10 points, and Ty Lawson, who sprained his left thumb in practice Tuesday, added eight to help the Nuggets take a 65-56 halftime lead.

They also survived without leading rebounder Kenyon Martin in the second half. Martin limped off the court just before halftime after hitting knees with another. He was initially expected to return but spent the rest of the game on the bench.

Golden State has had injury issues of its own all season and it didn't get any better against the Nuggets. C.J. Watson was held out of the game with flu-like symptoms and a team spokesman indicated Watson might also be suffering from appendicitis.

That left Golden State with only three guards -- Ellis, Curry and Anthony Morrow -- which made it tough to keep up with the speedy Nuggets.

The Warriors made a brief run in the fourth quarter, pulling within 106-100 on Morrow's four-point play with 8:13 remaining, but Billups made a short, off-balance flip-shot then later made a perfect alley-oop pass to Smith, and Anthony followed that up with an 18-foot jumper to make it 115-103.

Notes

  • The Nuggets have scored at least 123 points in winning each of their past six games against the Warriors.
  • Curry scored 30 points or more for the fourth time this season.
  • Denver is only 13-10 this season against teams with sub-.500 records.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
 
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Chauncey Billups makes six 3-pointers to lead the way for Denver with 37 points.  (Getty Images)
Chauncey Billups makes six 3-pointers to lead the way for Denver with 37 points. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Denver (38-19) «29363329127
Golden State (16-41) 21353125112
DEN:C. Billups 37 Pts
DEN:C. Andersen 11 Reb
DEN:C. Billups 9 Ast
GS:S. Curry 30 Pts
GS:D. George 9 Reb
GS:S. Curry 13 Ast
Players of the Game
Golden StateDenver

S. Curry

C. Billups
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
307133769
Denver
C. Anthony, SF3812-213-851227
C. Billups, PG3713-195-569137
Nene, C292-63-410657
A. Afflalo, SG202-30-02455
K. Martin, PF172-61-37225
J. Smith, SG328-172-283225
C. Andersen, PF292-73-411117
T. Lawson, PG235-80-233112
M. Allen, PF121-40-03032
J. Graham, SF30-10-01030
J. Petro, CDid Not Play
R. Balkman, SFDid Not Play
A. Carter, PGDid Not Play
Totals 47-9217-28562925127
 51.1%60.7% 
Golden State
M. Ellis, PG436-229-953022
S. Curry, PG4211-196-6713130
D. George, SG361-61-29454
R. Turiaf, C276-90-080112
A. Biedrins, C192-81-28045
A. Morrow, SG337-142-211120
A. Tolliver, PF244-120-061210
C. Hunter, PF173-63-42059
C. Maggette, SFDid Not Play
A. Randolph, PFDid Not Play
V. Radmanovic, SFDid Not Play
R. Bell, SGDid Not Play
K. Azubuike, SFDid Not Play
B. Wright, PFDid Not Play
C. Watson, PGDid Not Play
Totals 40-9622-25462219112
 41.7%88.0% 
Other Games
Mil 112 Final
Ind 110
Cle 108 Final
Bos 88