When Brandin Podziemski produced a steal and layup with 7:24 left in the fourth-quarter, everything appeared rosy for the Golden State Warriors as they led the reigning champion Denver Nuggets 121-103.
In fact, it may have been the noisiest and most vibrant Chase Center had been all season, coming after a 44-24 third-quarter that changed the complexion of the game. Yet not too long later, the crowd was left stunned after an absurd Nikola Jokic game-winner capped a 25-4 run for the Nuggets to end the game.
It was a debacle. A nightmare. A disaster. There's no other way to spin it after the Warriors turned what looked like their best win of the season into easily their worst. Golden State appeared more focused on running down the clock than actually running offense, they were perilous to stop Jokic and others on the other end, and some of Steve Kerr's lineups were nothing short of strange.
The Golden State Warriors have suffered an all-time collapse in the final minutes as the Denver Nuggets clawed back to secure a 130-127 win
Kerr was eager to try things -- Dario Saric, Trayce Jackson-Davis, Chris Paul, Andrew Wiggins, Kevon Looney and Brandin Podziemski all saw the floor at different points down the stretch, along with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson who had combined for 45 points in the first three-quarters.
Yet Kerr bizarrely chose not to go back to Jonathan Kuminga in the final 18 minutes of the game, that despite the third-year forward recording 16 points, four rebounds and four assists in an impressive 19 minutes.
The head coach's trust (or lack thereof) has regularly been a storyline over the past couple of years, but even this was a whole new level of unusual as Golden State crumbled over the final six minutes.
After an offensive spree in the first-half where the Nuggets put up 70 points and led by seven, the Warriors delivered their best quarter of the season where they found a way to bottle up the Denver offense while proving unstoppable themselves.
Kuminga relentlessly bullied his way to the free-throw line, the splash brothers had it rolling, and Podziemski lit up the crowd with three third-quarter triples. It was the very best of Golden State and yet they walked away with nothing to show for it shortly after.
Curry had 30 points, four rebounds and six assists, yet failed to find enough offense when it mattered most. Thompson was on fire in the first-half and finished with 24 points on 9-of-18 shooting, though he too was a no-show down the stretch.
Saric and Podziemski combined for 26 points, nine rebounds and 11 assists, while Wiggins also added 11 in a bench unit that outscored the Nuggets 41-25. Golden State shot over 54% from the floor and nearly 42% from three-point range, but Denver shot 56.5% and took 13 more free-throw attempts.
How the Warriors respond from this defeat will be incredibly fascinating, and perhaps fortunately they won't have to wait long with a meeting to come against the lowly Detroit Pistons on Friday night.