DENVER (CBS / AP) — Stephen Curry scored a season-best 36 points and the Golden State Warriors handed the fading Denver Nuggets their fifth straight loss, 109-101 on Thursday night.
It is the longest losing streak in five seasons for the Nuggets, who have dropped seven of eight games overall and also have lost five in a row at home.
Klay Thompson added 19 points, Dorrell Wright had 15 and Monta Ellis 14 for the Warriors, who snapped a two-game skid and posted just their third win in nine road games.
The Warriors, one of just two sub.-500 teams the Nuggets will see the rest of February, used a 37-20 third quarter to put this one away.
Trailing 51-47 at the half, the Golden State opened the third quarter with a 14-2 run sparked by three jumpers from Curry and a fadeaway basket by Ellis that made it 61-53.
A 3-pointer by Arron Afflalo, who led the Nuggets with 26 points, stopped the run. But the Warriors scored the next 10 points, capped by a 3-pointer from Curry, who did an shoulder-shake dance back downcourt in front of the scorer’s table.
The Warriors made 14 of 20 shots in the decisive third quarter, taking an 84-71 lead, and they led by 20 points in the fourth quarter.
Golden State was 13 of 25 from behind the arc, including Curry’s 6-for-9 performance.
The Nuggets look nothing like the team that started out 14-5 and was the feel-good story of the NBA for the first six weeks of the season following the long lockout.
Without starters Danilo Gallinari, their leading scorer, and Timofey Mozgov, who are both sidelined by sprained ankles, the rest of the roster isn’t nearly as effective as it was before.
Forward Corey Brewer will get the majority of Gallinari’s minutes during the month he’s expected to be out, but Brewer missed his third straight game Thursday night following the death of his father. He’s expected to rejoin the team at Indiana this weekend.
And the team will resign restricted free agent Wilson Chandler when his season with Zhejiang Guangsha in the Chinese league ends. The Nuggets could sure use his 14-point scoring average as soon as possible.
After the Nuggets’ 10-point loss to Dallas a night earlier, coach George Karl suggested playing in Lithuania during the NBA lockout might have caught up to speedy point guard Ty Lawson, saying, “He might be thinking he’s in the 50th or 60th game in the season rather than the 26th. Ty needs to be on his ‘A’ game.”
Lawson missed a few more baskets Thursday night when his open, short shots rimmed out or bounced off the iron.
Overall, his said his team hadn’t recovered from three games in three nights last week, suggesting before the game Thursday night that there was a residual effect both mentally and physically on his team.
Every team will go through funks during this compressed season, and this is just the Nuggets’ turn to endure the quirks of the busy schedule, Karl said.
Notes: Warriors G Nate Robinson returned from a strained groin. … Karl said he was surprised Gallinari didn’t make the All-Star team, but noted that teams haven’t all played one another yet and that makes it difficult for coaches to vote for players they haven’t seen up close this season. … Karl shaved his goatee, explaining, “I got 15 wins out of it. Now, I shaved it. I need 15 more.”
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