DENVER (AP) — Kevin Durant needed just one more basket to keep an impressive scoring streak going and more than 5 minutes to get it.
His coach, though, didn’t want to risk injury. Not in a blowout. Not in game No. 9 of the season.
Like that, another astonishing streak snapped.
Stephen Curry scored 33 points Thursday and the Golden State Warriors beat the Denver Nuggets 125-101 on a night Durant’s string of 72 straight regular-season games with at least 20 points ended.
Durant finished with 18 points. He remained tied with Michael Jordan for the fourth-longest streak of 20 or more points in league history.
“It was cool while it lasted,” said Durant, whose streak began on Nov. 23, 2015, while with Oklahoma City. “Up there with some great names. But I’ve got bigger goals in mind.”
A week ago, Curry had his league-record streak of 157 games with at least one 3-pointer ended.
“None of it matters and our guys know that,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr explained. “It’s about winning.”
Hence, an early end to his night. Durant stayed in the game, trying to get to the magic number of 20, until 5:51 remaining. He was subbed out after being called for an offensive foul.
“I’m not going to mess with the basketball gods. If you want to leave a guy out there to get some kind of record, you’re asking for an injury,” Kerr explained. “The game called for him to come out. He came out. He had no problem with it. I think there’s going to be a lot of that stuff this year.”
Curry tweaked his ankle in a win over Dallas on Wednesday, but it didn’t appear to hamper him against the Nuggets. He finished 7 of 13 from 3-point range, including one that he turned into a four-point play. That shot even impressed him as he lay on the ground and celebrated.
“One of those you don’t expect to go in,” Curry said. “But that was a terrible celebration.”
So torrid was his touch that Curry even launched one from just inside half-court. He missed it, but the crowd erupted.
“Honestly, it was a dumb shot,” Curry said.
Then again, he did have Draymond Green egging him on.
“It’s like the demon-angel on your shoulder — which one are you going to listen to?” Curry said. “It would’ve been fun to make it.”
Rookie Jamal Murray had 14 points for the Nuggets, who are 0-2 at Pepsi Center this season after stressing the importance of regaining a home-court advantage. Fellow rookie Malik Beasley scored his first NBA points on a 3-pointer in the third quarter. He finished with 12 points.
If that wasn’t enough, the third rookie of the group, Juan Hernangomez, chipped in 11.
“There were some positives at the end,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “But you tip your hat. We got our (rears) kicked tonight. We have to regroup.”
Warriors: Golden State went on a 17-2 run in the first quarter and never looked back. ... The Warriors led by as many as 31 points in the third. ... Rookie Damian Jones (right pectoral surgery) is scheduled to join Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League on Nov. 20. ... C Zaza Pachulia played in his 900th career game.
Nuggets: Wilson Chandler (left hamstring), Darrell Arthur (left knee) and Will Barton (left ankle) didn’t play. ... Denver starts 0-2 at home for the third time in four seasons.
Denver filed a protest with the NBA over a disputed call in the final second of a 108-107 loss in Memphis on Tuesday. The ball appeared to go off a Grizzlies player with 0.7 seconds remaining, but the ruling on the floor and video review awarded possession to Memphis. Marc Gasol hit the game-winning shot on a tip-in.
“Best-case scenario would be to replay the last seven-tenths,” Malone said.
The odds of that happening, though, are “slim and none,” Malone said.
There were quite a few Denver Broncos in attendance, including pass rushers Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware, along with receiver Demaryius Thomas and cornerback Chris Harris Jr. The Colorado Avalanche were represented by forward Nathan MacKinnon and defenseman Tyson Barrie.
Warriors: Going for their ninth straight win over Phoenix on Sunday. The Warriors haven’t lost to the Suns since Nov. 9, 2014.
Nuggets: Host Detroit on Saturday. Beat the Pistons 103-86 last Saturday.