Having locked up the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference playoffs, Warriors coach Mark Jackson emptied his bench Wednesday night.
He sent starting shooting guard Klay Thompson onto the floor with four reserves – point guard Steve Blake, small forward Harrison Barnes, power forward Marreese Speights and center Hilton Armstrong – to face the Nuggets in the season finale at Pepsi Center.
Barnes and Crawford responded with career scoring highs, combining for 70 points in a 116-112 victory over the Nuggets in the season finale for both teams.
Barnes finished with 29 points, including a ferocious second-quarter dunk and the clinching free throw with 6.2 seconds left. Crawford lit it up for 41, sinking 16 of 28 shots.
The Warriors finish their season at 51-31 and will open the first round of the Western Conference playoffs against the Clippers on Saturday in Los Angeles.
In anticipation of the postseason, Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala, David Lee and Jermaine O'Neal did not dress. Draymond Green dressed but did not enter the game until Armstrong fouled out with 2:49 remaining.
STANDOUT PERFORMER: Barnes and Crawford supplied the bulk of the offense on a night when there was not a lot of defense.
Seeing Barnes play with aggression and production was particularly welcome, as the second-year forward has struggled through most of this season.
Crawford became only the second player this season to come off the bench and score 40 points, the other being Lakers guard Nick Young.
TURNING POINT: The Warriors took the lead for good, going up 110-108 on a Crawford jumper with 2:23 left.
INJURY UPDATE: PG Stephen Curry (rest), SF Andre Iguodala (rest), PF David Lee (rest) and C Jermaine O'Neal (rest) did not play. C Andrew Bogut (fractured rib) and C Festus Ezeli (right knee rehab) are out indefinitely.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Warriors return to action on Saturday in Game 1 of their first-round Western Conference playoff series against the Clippers. Tipoff at Staples Center is at 12:30 p.m.