Nuggets seek crowd boost as series returns to Pepsi Center

Down 3-1 to Golden State, Denver must continue strong play at home
by Aaron Lopez

SAN FRANCISCO – For two nights in Oakland, the Golden State Warriors were treated like rock gods by a crowd that started screaming an hour before tipoff and rarely sat down once the game started.

Riding the euphoria, the Warriors passed, dunked and bombed away with abandon in seizing a 3-1 lead against the Denver Nuggets in their best-of-7 first-round series.

The Nuggets are hoping to receive the same kind of support when they take the floor for Game 5 at Pepsi Center on Tuesday.

“I hope our crowd can get as loud as their crowd was, because it was deafening,” Denver forward Kenneth Faried said. “You really can’t hear much. Our crowd really gets behind us when we get going. Helpfully, we can feed off that and show them a thing or two.”

The Nuggets gave their fans plenty to cheer about at home all year, winning an NBA-best 38 games, including 23 in a row to end the regular season.

The streak reached 24 when Denver beat Golden State in Game 1, but the Warriors have responded with three consecutive victories to move within a game of advancing to face the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference semifinals.

Needing three straight wins, the Nuggets can take solace in the fact that two opportunities would be on their home turf.

“Our court has been a great court, too,” Denver coach George Karl said. “We’ve got two courts that are probably in the top five in the NBA right now. They have helped win games with their energy and we could use them to be on our side (Tuesday) night.”

The decibel level at Oracle Arena was off the charts during Golden State rallies to end the second and third quarters in Game 4.

The Warriors turned a one-point lead into a 12-point advantage with an 11-0 run over the final 3:11 of the first half. After Denver got within eight late in the third, Golden State closed the third quarter with a 12-1 run over the final 1:54.

Denver committed nine of their 23 turnovers in those game-changing stretches.

“We have way too many turnovers,” Karl said. “When they shoot the ball as well as they shoot it, we can’t give them more possessions.”

Golden State sharpshooter Stephen Curry has been getting all the headlines, but he has been getting plenty of support.

Jarrett Jack is averaging 20 points on .620 shooting (31-of-50) after averaging 12.9 points on .452 shooting during the regular season.

Carl Landry averaged 10.8 points during the regular season but has boosted his production to 14.8 in the playoffs, while forward Draymond Green is 4-for-8 from 3-point range after going 14-for-67 (.209) during his rookie season.

Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli also have made across-the-board contributions for the Warriors.

“It’s not just one guy,” Nuggets swingman Andre Iguodala said. “Our team defense has to improve. We have to trust one another. It comes down to the basics of basketball.”

While Golden State has shared the wealth, Denver’s primary source of production has been Ty Lawson, who scored a combined 80 points in Games 2 through 4.

“Ty has been carrying the load,” Faried said. “Me, Andre Iguodala, Corey Brewer, Wilson Chandler, Andre Miller, we’ve got to help him. We’re usually the guys who can score. We need to help Ty.”

And the home fans need to help the Nuggets. Now is the time to stand up and be heard.

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