Best of 2013-14: Nuggets ride Hickson to win by the Bay

Denver's victory at Golden State ranks No. 4 on countdown
by Aaron Lopez
Nuggets.com

By the time the Denver Nuggets returned to Oracle Arena on Jan. 15, more than eight months had passed since their first-round playoff loss to the Golden State Warriors.

First-year coach Brian Shaw was calling the plays for the Nuggets, and the playing rotation featured offseason acquisitions Randy Foye, J.J. Hickson and Nate Robinson.

The trio would play a huge hand in helping Denver pull off one of the most memorable wins of the season.

Hickson was a monster on the glass, grabbing a career-high 24 rebounds, while Foye and Robinson combined for 45 points on 7-of-12 3-point shooting as the Nuggets beat the Warriors 123-116.

The victory was Denver’s sixth in seven games and ranks No. 4 in our countdown of the team’s best wins of 2013-14.

“We got contributions from everywhere,” Shaw said afterward.

“The momentum changed hands several times throughout the game, but we played with poise and confidence and made the plays we needed to make in order to win the game.”

The Nuggets saw an eight-point lead turn into a one-point deficit when Golden State went on an 11-2 run in a 2:31 span late in the fourth quarter.

Hickson then sparked a game-closing 8-0 run when he hit a pull-up jumper with 1:04 remaining. Fifteen seconds later, he converted a breakaway dunk after stealing the ball from Warriors guard Stephen Curry.

Fittingly, Golden State’s final missed shot landed in Hickson’s grasp at the buzzer, giving him his 24th rebound of the night. He would set his career-high again on Feb. 25 with 25 rebounds against the Portland Trail Blazers.

“I looked at the scoreboard when he had 20 (rebounds),” Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler said after the Golden State game. “It was a great game for him. I thought he would end with 30.”

Little did Chandler know, another Denver big man would chase the 30 mark when the Nuggets returned to Oakland in a few months.