DENVER — Denver Nuggets fans showered Andre Iguodala with boos every time he touched the ball Monday night.
The Warriors responded with a cavalcade of early points. Then they had to grind away during a sloppy Western Conference battle for an 89-81 win.
The Warriors won despite a rare awful night from Stephen Curry, who was scoreless in the third quarter and saddled with foul trouble. He finally warmed up early in the fourth quarter with five straight points and finished with 14 points.
Klay Thompson, who also struggled, made a field goal with 22.6 seconds left to up the Warriors lead to 85-80.
David Lee led all scorers with 28 points and added 10 rebounds for the Warriors. Thompson finished with 13 points, and Iguodala had 12.
Iguodala, who led the Nuggets to a franchise-best 57 wins last season, including averaging 18 points in a first-round playoff series against the Warriors, said Monday morning he didn't know what to expect in his return. He quickly found out.
Curry and Thompson — aka "The Splash Brothers" — were a dreadful 11 for 30 from the floor for the game, but the Warriors somehow found a way at altitude.
The Warriors opened the game on a Rocky Mountain high, scoring 30 in the first quarter, their biggest output in the first quarter in 20 games, dating to Nov. 14.
The booing kept coming Iguodala's way, however, and the Nuggets kept coming as well after a slow start. With Curry and Thompson struggling, Denver took its first lead on a 3-pointer by a wide-open Wilson Chandler with 6:26 left in the third quarter.
Iguodala, in his fourth game after missing 12 with a strained left hamstring, is still searching for his jump shot. He moved well and was aggressive.
Ty Lawson's dazzling floor play and tight guarding of Curry helped the Nuggets get back in the game after the Warriors led 30-22 after the first quarter. Lawson limited Curry to eight points, on five shots, in the half. Thompson had two over the first two quarters on 1-for-6 shooting.
The Nuggets rallied to tie it 43-43 on a dunk by 7-footer Timofey Mozgov, off an Andre Miller pass, but two Lee field goals in the final minute of the half put the Warriors back ahead, 47-43. Lee had 16 points in the first half.
After Lawson blocked a Curry shot, Curry went over his back and was hit with his fourth foul with 3:55 left in the half.
The Nuggets converted two Iguodala turnovers into four points during the comeback.
The Warriors shot 46.8 percent for the first half and turned it over only six times.
During a sluggish third quarter, Curry and Thompson were a combined 5 for 20 from the field.
The Warriors started fast as Lee scored 12 in the first quarter, in which the Warriors looked exceedingly crisp.
They led 30-22 at the first-quarter buzzer after carrying leads of 13-2, 19-7, 24-9 and 26-12. The Nuggets, meanwhile, started out like a team that needed what Iguodala brings to the floor: a strong perimeter defender and a guiding light on offense.
Mozgov, Denver's center matched Andrew Bogut with a game-high 11 rebounds.