Jokic’s Buzzer Beater Keeps Warriors Out Of The Current Playoff Picture

rsz nikola jokic nuggets
rsz nikola jokic nuggets

The Golden State Warriors have been struggling so far this season. After getting out to a hot start, they’ve been hovering around the .500 mark for most of the year, and came into Thursday’s action with an overall record of 16-17 and in 11th place in the Western Conference. But thanks to the recent skid by the Los Angeles Lakers, Steph Curry and company had a chance to pull into 10th place and into the early playoff picture.

Warriors Stay In 11th Place Thanks To Jokic’s Miracle Shot

It looked like they were going to get the job done, too. The Warriors were at home on Thursday night for a matchup with the defending champion Denver Nuggets, and entered as three-point underdogs. After a first half that was mostly even throughout, the Warriors exploded for 44 points in the third quarter, and had a 13-point lead heading into the final frame. The lead was extended even further halfway through the fourth, when an Andrew Wiggins basket pushed the score to 123-105 with under seven minutes to play.

But the Warriors didn’t score much after that. The next 13 points were scored by the Nuggets, but Golden State was able to stop the bleeding with a pair of Curry free throws and a layup by Trayce Jackson-Davis, which wound up being the only field goal that the Warriors made in the final seven minutes of action.

Golden State had a chance at a go-ahead shot with the game tied at 127 in the final moments, but a Curry turnover with four seconds left gave Denver a chance at a final possession, and they called a timeout with 3.1 seconds left.

On the ensuing play, Aaron Gordon inbounded the ball to Nikola Jokić, who dribbled down the right sideline and pulled up from a few paces in front of half court as the clock was about to expire. He heaved up a prayer as the buzzer sounded, and the ball bounced off of the backboard and into the basket, capping off the improbable victory and giving the Nuggets the 3 point victory.

Golden State Needs To Pick Up Wins This Weekend

With the win, Denver improves their record to 25-11, now just a half-game behind the Minnesota Timberwolves for the top spot in the Western Conference.

The story is different for the Warriors. The team has struggled with late-game collapses all season long, and have a growing list of unfortunate defeats just a little more than two months into the schedule. It has caught up to them by causing them to have a losing record, as they are now 16-18, just a half-game better than the Utah Jazz in the standings.

But more importantly, they missed out on a golden opportunity to move back into the top-10 in the West, which would put them at least in position to be a part of the Play-In Tournament if the season ended today. For now, they remain in 11th place and a half-game behind the Lakers.

The schedule might help in turning things around for Golden State. For their next two games, the Warriors are set to take on the Detroit Pistons and Toronto Raptors, who have been two of the worst teams so far this season.

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