It was a point guard duel at the Oracle Arena, as Ty Lawson led the Nuggets with a game-high 35 points and 10 assists and Stephen Curry defended his home court with 29 points and 11 assists. Jarrett Jack stepped up for 23 points and 7 assists as well.
With Carl Landry and rookie Harrison Barnes both contributing 19, the Warriors managed to outscore the Nuggets in an offensive slugfest—there really isn't much else to it.
The Nuggets and Warriors matched each other at every striking moment early on, finishing the first quarter at 32-32. Both sides connected on two respective three-pointers, as Andre Miller and Andre Iguodala combated Stephen Curry's sharpshooting.
During the second quarter, it was all Denver.
Corey Brewer led the charge, scoring 12 points in the quarter, including an out-of-this-region three-pointer from 30 feet away. With Lawson attacking the basket and facilitating, Denver had all it needed to get out in front.
Entering the third quarter, the Warriors trailed 66-54 and struggled to close the gap for a majority of the third. With Mark Jackson gambling on keeping Curry in with four fouls, however, the Warriors went on a run.
Nine third-quarter points later, coach Jackson looked rather brilliant.
Jarrett Jack made his mark in the third quarter, as well, picking up 10 points and four assists in that period alone. From his gorgeous floaters to his beautiful crossovers on McGee, Jack was everywhere.
Led by their point guards, the Warriors made it 87-84 entering the fourth quarter.
The Nuggets started the final period of regulation hot, with Anthony Randolph scoring four straight points to give Denver an 88-87 lead. However, the Warriors responded and never looked back.
Barnes and fellow rookie Draymond Green shouldered the load during the first half of the quarter, draining key jump shots to keep Golden State in front. When their starters were ready to come back onto the floor, it was the usual suspects who stepped up big.
Curry and Jack made huge shots, all leading to the former hitting Barnes for a jumper and later coming up with a steal on an unsuspecting Andre Miller.
Curry and Lawson would duel it out until the end with both players making key baskets for their team. After Wilson Chandler hit a three-pointer with 16 seconds remaining to make it 109-108 Golden State, it appeared as if Denver had a chance.
With nine seconds remaining, Jack failed to throw the ball in, the Warriors were handed a five-second penalty and it became Nuggets ball. A Lawson turnover with five seconds remaining neutralized that momentum.
After Barnes missed a free throw with a little under four seconds remaining, the Nuggets took the ball up the court down 110-108. Andre Iguodala threw one up from half court, but it hit the rim and ultimately led to heartbreak for Denver fans.
The Warriors held on to win.
The key for Golden State was none other than star guard and the NBA's leader in three-point field goals made, Stephen Curry.
Curry managed four three-point field goals, made all nine of his free-throw attempts and committed just three turnovers against Denver's opportunistic defense.
Although the game ended in regulation, Chris Palmer of ESPN spoke the words that every unbiased fan could agree with. That, to paraphrase, was to make this go on forever.
Chances are, we'll be in for a similar story in Game 4.
This is yet another brilliant game between these two sides, which has been a refreshing break from what we've become accustomed to seeing. Not only was this more competitive than 99 percent of the postseason games thus far, but it's becoming a trend in this series.
As Ben Baroff of Sheridan Hoops so eloquently put, the Warriors and Nuggets care not for what the other postseason series are shaping up to be.
Thank the basketball Gods for this series.
Outside of the fact that it had to end, the most tragic aspect of this game is the fact that a majority of the East Coast was asleep. After all, the game did end at roughly 1:30 a.m. ET.
B/R's Roy Burton provided this Twitter gem.
Highlights won't be enough to do this game justice.
The silence during Andre Iguodala's half-court attempt at a game-winner was more deafening than any of the cheers the Oracle Arena put forth. To put it simply, that ball looked dead on, and the entire world seemed aware of that.
Fortunately for the Warriors, it didn't.