Rookie Kenneth Faried had season highs of 27 points and 17 rebounds, and the Denver Nuggets never trailed in their most lopsided win of the season, a 123-84 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Monday night.
The 39-point margin exceeded Denver's previous high of 29 points against Sacramento on Jan. 25, and coincided with the return of Danilo Gallinari. He helped pick up the offense by scoring 15 points in his first game since breaking his left thumb against Dallas on March 19.
Arron Afflalo also had 15 points, and JaVale McGee and Corey Brewer each added 13 for Denver. Golden State was led by Klay Thompson and Nate Robinson with 17 and 16 points, respectively.
The Nuggets matched their season high in points and beat the Warriors for the first time in three tries this season. They remained in eighth place in the Western Conference with nine games remaining. Denver is in a tight race with seventh-place Dallas, Phoenix, Utah, and Houston for the last two postseason spots in the conference.
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Faried, a quick, powerful forward, put on a dazzling show in a stunning turnaround from his one-point, four-rebound effort in a 112-97 loss at Golden State on Saturday.
This time, Faried scored on an array of moves, driving to the hoop for layups, putting in a couple of spectacular dunks off alley-oop passes and soaring through traffic to hit jumpers from up close.
He had a rim-rattling, two-handed dunk that brought a roar from the crowd and put the Nuggets up 80-50 with 5:05 left in the third period. When he went to the bench a minute later for a rest, the crowd showed its appreciation with a rousing ovation.
Gallinari soon added a 3-pointer and the Nuggets took an 83-50 lead into the fourth quarter. The Nuggets substituted freely the rest of the way but still wound up stretching their lead during the final period.
The Nuggets led by as many as 31 points in the first half and were in front 65-38 at the break after Faried grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back in for a basket with 30 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
They gained command early by leaning on their transition game, running the floor relentlessly en route to a 37-13 advantage at the end of the first quarter. Faried was at the center of the flurry, scoring 11 points in the period, including a three-point play after throwing down a dunk around a pair of three-point plays by Arron Afflalo.
NOTES: Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler missed a fifth consecutive game because of a lingering groin strain. ... The Warriors remain without Andrew Bogut (fractured left ankle) and Stephen Curry (sprained right ankle). ... The Warriors' 13 points in the first quarter was one over their season low for the period. ... Faried's previous career highs were 20 points March 5 against Sacramento and 16 rebounds against Boston on March 17. .. Denver had a 60-27 rebounding edge over Golden State. ... The Nuggets also scored 123 points against New Jersey on Jan. 11.