Warriors punish Denver with 43-point third quarter

DENVER -- The Golden State Warriors completed their three-game road trip that started in LA against the Clippers and continued in San Antonio with a resounding 127-108 win over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday at the Pepsi Center.

In helping earn the team's third straight victory, Stephen Curry secured his first double-double of the season by way of 22 points and 11 assists. He had a plus-44 plus-minus ratio, the highest mark in the game and the highest in his career, including playoffs.

"I'm really pleased," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "What a great trip. Three tough teams."

Kevin Durant had a game-high 25 points to go with six boards, six assists and two blocks.

It was the first time ever that the Nuggets allowed two players to have 22-plus points, four-plus triples, and seven-plus assists in the same game.

Draymond Green played a solid all-around game with 15 points, seven rebounds and eight assists. Klay Thompson added 15.

"I think we just got better. I think we're starting to put it together on both ends of the floor," Green said. "We're taking better care of the ball, and we're playing better defense. So, that's the recipe and we know that. It took us a couple of weeks to lock in on it, but I think we've kind of gotten there, and we've got to continue to do it."

Golden State (7-3) shot 54.9 percent from the field and was 18-of-40 from 3-point range (45 percent). Denver (5-5) shot 46 percent and 6-of-24 from downtown (25 percent). The Nuggets made 13 more free throws than the Warriors, but the shooting percentage and 3-point shooting made the difference.

After facing a 13-point first-quarter margin, Denver trimmed it to five at intermission on the strength of a 24-5 run to start the second quarter. The home team had life, momentarily.

However, the Warriors jumped out the gate after halftime, with a 16-2 run in just 3:56. Nuggets coach Mike Malone was furious, as he immediately called a timeout and yanked his starters.

Things were going so well for the Warriors that Zaza Pachulia played a little point-center. He picked off a pass and went coast to coast for a basket to give the Warriors a 12-point lead two minutes into the third. He celebrated his play with some high-fives to Curry.

The big man joked that he almost got called for a three-second violation on that transition break.

"He had that transition basket that took like 14 seconds to develop, and his reaction afterwards was just brilliant," Kerr said.

In the third, it got to the point that the Warriors were just toying with the Nuggets. They got any and every shot they wanted. Their extra passes had the Nuggets scrambling on defense and repeatedly leaving shooters and cutters open for easy baskets.

Denver fouled 3-point shooters on multiple occasions. Curry was a beneficiary twice. Durant and Curry outscored the Nuggets 25-21 in the period.

"I think everybody came out with great energy out of the half, and we found something in the pick-and-roll and we just tried to exploit that," Durant said. "... We made the correct pass, man. We were making three or four passes in one possession. I think that's what hurt them more than anything."

Golden State exploded for 43 points in that third quarter, giving the defending champs some nice rest for the starters in the final quarter. Denver trailed by as many as 29 points.

"That was impressive," Kerr said. "We came out firing in the third.

"Obviously, we're rounding into form, and we kind of turned the corner on this trip."

The Warriors turned the ball over only 13 times, an improvement from their ball security in the first handful of games. They recorded 37 assists and have surpassed 100 points in every game this season, the only team to do so. Green said that while he is pleased with the team's statistics, there's only one statistic he's concerned about.

"Tonight, the most important stat for me I think was 127 to 109 or 108 or something like that," he said of the final score. "That's the one I really look for most of the time."

Will Barton led Denver with 21 points, eight rebounds and five assists off the bench. He's the only reserve so far this season to post 21-plus points, eight-plus rebounds and five-plus assists in a game. No Nuggets starter reached double figures in points, the first time that's happened since Nov. 23, 2016, at Utah.

The Warriors will return to Northern California for a four-game homestand, with the Miami Heat first up on Monday.

"The last three games have been solid for us," Durant said. "So we're going to try to build on that and take it home and take care of home, and hopefully we get four wins."