Warriors hoping for quicker start vs. Nuggets

DENVER -- Three straight trips to the NBA Finals and two championships are making Golden State Warriors lax at the start of games in the opening weeks of the season.

They routinely fall behind by double digits but have rallied to win most of those games. Thursday's 112-92 win over the San Antonio Spurs was just the latest example. Golden State was down by 19 in the first half, turned it on in the second half and to win by 20.

The Warriors have acknowledged they are been guilty of being bored and they hope to start quicker Saturday night when they visit the Denver Nuggets.

"It's tough for it to still be early November, and you're looking forward to April, May and June," guard Stephen Curry told The San Francisco Chronicle. "But understanding what it takes to win a championship, it's kind of cliche, but every game you can learn a little bit about yourself and continue to build great habits to get there."

One reason the Warriors (6-3) are falling behind so often is because they're getting everyone's best efforts every game. It's the burden of being the reigning champions.

Golden State might be catching a little break.

While the Warriors were resting Denver was beating the Miami Heat 95-94 on Friday thanks to Paul Millsap, who capped a 27-point showing by hitting three free throws with 11.6 seconds remaining.

However, the game was at home so the Nuggets didn't have to rush out and catch a flight after the game. They simply drove home.

Golden State's equipment was in the arena before the tipoff of Denver's game against the Heat.

The Nuggets' task is fighting through any fatigue that may linger from playing their third game in four nights and fifth in the last seven, and playing the Warriors might help freshen those legs.

Denver (5-4) is in the midst of a six-game homestand following a four-game trip to the East Coast, which including games on back-to-back nights at Brooklyn and New York Sunday and Monday.

The Nuggets showed no ill-effects in a convincing win over Toronto on Wednesday or Friday against the Heat. Denver's offense has found another gear after a slow start to the season, although it needed to grind it out to beat Miami on Friday night, getting its second win decided by five points or less.

The issue for Denver on Friday was its foul shooting.

Denver is 28th in the league at the line at 70.5 percent and made things interesting by going 14 of 25.

"That's something we need to work on," said Denver center Nikola Jokic, who had 19 points and 14 rebounds against Miami. "(A) free throw is the easiest shot in the game. The whole team needs to do that better."

They made them when it counted at least Millsap did. Right after missing two free throws that would have put the Nuggets he atoned by giving Denver the lead.

"That's the importance of having Paul Millsap," Denver coach Michael Malone said. "He does not shy away from the moment. He's been in that moment time and time again."

Millsap was in Atlanta last season when the Nuggets blitzed the Warriors by hitting 24 3-pointers in a 132-110 win at Pepsi Center on Feb. 13th. The 3-point total tied for the most in an NBA game at the time, a total that was surpassed later in the season.

That memory might be enough to fire up Golden State. The Warriors are looking for any kind of motivation to get through these early-season games.

"You've got to encourage yourself to get through the gauntlet of an NBA season, because night in, night out, it can be tough at times to find that motivation," Curry told The San Francisco Chronicle. "At the end of the day, if we want to win a championship, that's what we'll have to do."
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