If there were ever a time to praise the benefits of replay, Warriors coach Mark Jackson found it.
Andre Iguodala's 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded was waived off, and Golden State held on for a wild 106-105 win over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night after four replay reviews over the final 3.4 seconds.
Iguodala received a cross-court inbounds pass and connected from the left wing with a hand in his face, and Denver players celebrated by running off the court toward their locker room. But the Warriors stayed put and waited on yet another review by officials at the scorer's table — then began their own cheers at raucous Oracle Arena when officials ruled the shot came just an instant after time expired.
"I was very confident that it didn't count," Jackson said. "That being said, I didn't know what the results were going to be, the same way with some of the other calls. Mistakes are going to be made — by players, by coaches, by referees. At the end of the day I'm just thankful we're at a time where we review it. Great camera work. Shout out to the camera man."
Iguodala missed the last of three free throws that would have tied the game with 3.4 seconds to go, but Denver still had two more chances to win.
Officials first went to the replay table to review whether Jarrett Jack had fouled Iguodala in the act of shooting to give him three tries when trailing by three. After he clunked the third attempt off the back of the rim, Golden State's Draymond Green knocked the ball out of bounds to give the Nuggets another possession with 2.1 seconds left — and that play also went to review.
Andre Miller's pass was deflected out of bounds, and officials went to the replay again before ruling the ball went off a Golden State player. Iguodala swished a 3 that would have won the game, but it came too late.
"If I put a stopwatch on ... it seems like the clock started early for me," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "There's nothing to argue about. The camera says it's in his hands."
Jack scored on a driving layup with 1:12 remaining, moments after a critical turnover that could have cost Golden State.
"We were pretty confident on a lot of the calls that didn't go our way throughout the course of the game, so we really weren't sure," Jack said. "Happy that one was able to go in our favor, but it shouldn't have come down to that. We had a couple mistakes, errors down the stretch that we'll definitely try to clean up in practice."
David Lee hit a layup with 2:12 left on the way to a season-high 31 points on 13-of-15 shooting for the Warriors, who earned a hard-fought first win of the season against the Nuggets in the third meeting between the teams in a 20-day span.
Klay Thompson scored 21 points and Stephen Curry had 20 points and a season-best 10 assists as Golden State (9-6) won for the fourth time in five games and moved three games above .500 for the first time since it was 7-4 early in the 2010-11 season. The Warriors also have nine wins in their first 16 games for the first time since 2006-07.
Iguodala finished with 22 points, Danilo Gallinari added 20 points and nine rebounds and Ty Lawson 17 points and nine assists for the Nuggets, who escaped with a double-overtime victory here Nov. 10 before beating Golden State at home last Friday.
The Nuggets used a 13-6 spurt early in the third quarter to build a 16-point lead, which looked an awful lot like the 15-0 run by Denver to start the second half of the last matchup. This time, Gallinari scored five of those points but the Warriors fought back.
"It seems as if we're developing a little bit of a rivalry with them — two out of the three games have been dogfight games," Jack said. "It was almost like an old-school East Coast basketball game, punch after punch after punch. Luckily we got to have the last one tonight."
Iguodala was held to 8 for 17 from the floor after he went off for a season-best 29 points in the last meeting — the most points by an opponent against Golden State this season.
This win came at a good time for Golden State following a dramatic two days in which the Warriors and Andrew Bogut acknowledged the center underwent a more extensive microfracture surgery in April. Both sides are still unclear when the 2005 No. 1 overall draft pick will be ready to return on his surgically repaired left ankle that has limited him to four games.
He said before the game he is done predicting when he might be back on the court, while general manager Bob Myers publicly apologized Thursday night to anyone who might have questioned how the situation was handled. He insisted the team didn't intend to mislead anyone by describing the procedure as only to clean out loose particles and bone spurs.
Golden State hit seven of its first nine shots to jump to a 17-5 lead 5 minutes into the game.
Jordan Hamilton hit a 25-footer with 4:21 left in the first half for Denver's first lead on the way to a 60-51 edge at the break after the Nuggets shot 15 for 23 in the period. The Warriors, meanwhile, went 10 of 21 from the floor in the second quarter.
Notes: A moment of silence was held before the national anthem for the daughter of Rockets coach Kevin McHale, who died Saturday at age 23. ... The Warriors are 5-2 at home. ... The Warriors won the season series with the Nuggets (2-1) in last season's lockout-shortened season for the first time since 2004-05. The teams play once more, on Jan. 13. ... 49ers WR Michael Crabtree sat courtside in an all-black get-up complete with dark shades.