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Curry heats up again as Warriors go up 3-1 on Nuggets

By Aaron J. Lopez, Nuggets.com

Posted April 29 2013 01:23

OAKLAND, Calif. – The Denver Nuggets won at least three straight games eight times during a record-setting regular season.

They will need to put together one more winning streak to extend their postseason.

After making a second-half surge, the Nuggets witnessed a one-for-the-ages performance by Stephen Curry on Sunday night at Oracle Arena, leaving themselves no margin for error in their first-round playoff series against the Golden State Warriors.

Curry made six 3-pointers and scored 22 of his 31 points in the third quarter as the Warriors beat the Nuggets 115-101 to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 series.

Game 5 is Tuesday at Pepsi Center in Denver.

“It’s kind of ride-or-die time,” Nuggets guard/forward Andre Iguodala said. “We’ll see what kind of basketball players we’re made of when our backs are against the wall.”

Eight teams in NBA history have rallied to win a playoff series after trailing 3-1. Six of those teams started the comeback by playing Game 5 on their home court, which will be the case for the Nuggets.

“We’re going to try to take care of home court and come right back here on Thursday,” Denver point guard Ty Lawson said. “Got to take care of home court and get one here (in Oakland). That’s all it takes.”

Lawson, who scored a career playoff-high 35 points in Game 3, nearly brought the Nuggets back from a 15-point third-quarter deficit.

Beating defenders off the dribble and from the perimeter, he scored 15 of his 26 points in the first 6 minutes of the third quarter to help Denver close within four.

Curry, however, owned the final 6:22 of the third, scoring 22 points in that span, including the final 12 to give Golden State a 91-72 lead heading to the fourth.

“He’s hitting tough shots a couple feet behind the 3-point line,” Lawson said. “He’s hot right now. We’ve got to figure out a way to stop him.

“You have to try anything. They started going one-on-one in the third quarter. There weren’t any picks or anything. We just have to man-up and defend.”

The Nuggets also have to do a better job taking care of the ball. They committed 14 turnovers in the first half and 23 in the game, leading to 33 points for Golden State.

Curry literally had a hand in the Denver miscues, finishing with four steals, including one that led to a pull-up 3 during a 9-0 run late in the third quarter. The Nuggets never got closer than 13 the rest of the way.

“The next 48 hours, it's going to be difficult, to say the least,” Nuggets coach George Karl said. “They found some magic, and we've got to somehow take it away from them.”

For the fourth year in a row, the Nuggets find themselves in a 3-1 predicament. Most recently, they beat the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 5 on the road and Game 6 at home before falling in Game 7 last spring.

“Just got to be tough, got to pick each other up,” Lawson said. “Can’t put your head down (because of) one or two plays. You have to stick together. We have to come back and regroup.”

After finishing third in the NBA in assists, the Nuggets managed 14 in Game 4. Only twice during the regular season did they have fewer than 15 assists in a game.

“We just need to throw everything out the book and come back with a different game plan because right now we’re not playing Nuggets basketball,” forward Kenneth Faried said. “We’re not looking for the open man and it looks bad out there.”

As bad as it looked Sunday night, the Nuggets can take solace in the fact that they will be returning to Denver, where they won an NBA-best 38 games during the regular season.

They also didn’t lose four games in a row at any point.

“It's not an impossible task,” Karl said. “Taking their confidence and their enthusiasm away is going to be a great challenge. It usually takes one game to turn around your confidence.

“Tuesday night will be a fight game and a battle game, a pride game, a determination game. We win that game, hopefully something will come our way.”

STAR OF THE GAME

Stephen Curry

Points 31 10-16 FG, 5-5 FT
Rebounds 3, 0 OFF 3 DEF
Assists 7
Steals 4
Blocks 0
GAME LEADERS
Points Stephen Curry 31
Rebounds Kenneth Faried 12
Assists Jarrett Jack 9
Steals Stephen Curry, Draymond Green 4
Blocks Andrew Bogut 2
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT

Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried on trying to capitalize at home for Game 5

"I hope our crowd can get as loud as their crowd was because it was deafening. 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."

KEY MOMENT

Curry helps Warriors gain separation after Nuggets rally out of halftime

The Nuggets trailed by 15 after Klay Thompson hit a 3-pointer to open the second half, but Ty Lawson scored 15 points to help Denver pull within four. Stephen Curry then scored 19 points in a 4:22 span to help the Warriors take a 19-point lead into the fourth quarter.
VIDEO RECAP

Postgame Quotes

Nuggets coach George Karl

On team's mindset heading into Game 5 down 3-1:
“The next 48 hours, it's going to be difficult to say the least. They found some magic and we've got to somehow take it away from them. And they are beating us in a lot of different ways and tonight I think our offense kind of got frustrated and got selfish and we lost the pass, which has been our forte. They were definitely the quality offensive team. Shooters like they have, you do a good job and they get (Andrew) Bogut to play well in the first quarter. (Carl) Landry had a good first half. They had a lot of guys play really well along with their guards. Talk about Steph (Curry), he's great, but Jarrett Jack is having an incredibly good series. How we shake it up and how we frustrate them and how our pride or our competitive pride is going to be tested on Tuesday night. There's an excitement of getting this feeling and this frustration out of our bodies by going out and playing our best basketball of the season, or at least of the postseason.”

On reasons behind Golden State's success:
“In general, the turnovers gave them a lot of easy offensive opportunities and then we had no control of the ball when we did play 5-on-5. When we jumped the ball, they got the ball to Bogut, Bogut made good decisions. When we didn't jump the ball, (Jarrett) Jack and (Stephen) Curry still had a lot of good control, and controlling the basketball is what we probably will be the No. 1 priority going into Tuesday.”

On message to team going forward:
“Well, we were down 3-1 last year to the Lakers and went down to L.A. and won Game 5 and then won Game 6. It's a basketball game. It's not an impossible task. Taking their confidence and their enthusiasm away is going to be a great challenge. It usually takes one game to turn around your confidence. We're the team without confidence right now and they're the team with confidence. The two things I'm thinking of is defense and the pass. We've got to get the pass back in the offensive end of the court. Can't turn the ball over and give them 30 points. That's what we want to do is turn people over and get 30 points. They scored more points in the paint than we scored and I don't know how many times it happened this year but it's not many.”

On the team's lack of confidence:
“They have more flow than we have. They're passing the ball better than we are. They're probably making better passing and basketball decisions at the offensive end of the court and they're probably twice as good of shooters as we are. They shoot the ball at an incredible level. But again, Tuesday night will be a fight game and a battle game, a pride game, a determination game. We win that game, hopefully something will come our way.”

Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson

Thoughts on Game 4:
“Shocking, man. We came out and did all right in the first half, made a little run in the third (quarter). But then they came and made a run back and we didn’t respond. Feels like we might be getting punked out there a little bit not sharing the ball. We have to have a better showing, especially when we go back home.”

On the most frustrating part of Game 4:
“All of it. We finally outrebounded them, but everything is frustrating right now. We’re not knocking down shots, we’re not getting easy shots. A lot of them are forced with a hand in the face. I don’t think we’re playing our regular basketball.”

On mindset heading into Game 5:
“We did this last year. We were down 3-1 to the Lakers and forced a Game 7. Just got to be tough. Got to pick each other up. Can’t put your head down off one or two plays. You have to stick together. We have to come back and regroup.”

Nuggets swingman Andre Iguodala

On Warriors clicking on offense:
“They did a good job of executing. They did a good job of making a few adjustments on our schemes defensively and just exploited them. You have to give them credit. They played really well tonight.”

On facing elimination in Game 5
“It’s just simple. You kind of get tested to see what kind of basketball player, what kind of man you are, what type of pride you have and respect for the game. Just got to win from here on out.”

On adjustments going forward
"We just have to play basketball. Our Achilles’ heel is our youth as far as IQ of being able to read plays. Guys are playing hard, but they’re acing us a lot of the time. We trap really hard and (Andrew) Bogut was doing a really good job. If we didn’t, Steph (Curry) found a way to make some shots. You have to give them credit. Our guys will continue to learn and continue to keep fighting and try to get some wins."

Warriors coach Mark Jackson

On the first-half play of Andrew Bogut:
“Oh, he was great. He was off the charts. Making plays out of double teams, setting great screens, rebounding the basketball, playing physical. I thought he was key to keeping us in the ball game and really setting the tone. That's why they pay him the big bucks. It was great to see.”

On Stephen Curry battling through pain in his ankle:
“I did have a talk with him. I actually took him out in the first half and was considering, you know, shutting him down. I told him that and it was almost like a boxer that knew he was on the ropes because it was just a matter of time. I told him I don't need him to be a hero. Talk about smart coaching. And I guess he realized and sensed it and he captured the moment. He embraced the moment. The thing that stood out to me he almost -- it was almost like he had been waiting for this for his entire career. And he wasn't going to allow his body to tell him it was too hurt to match the moment. It was an incredible, incredible performance by him once again.”

On being a young team:
“Our confidence level and mindset is the same exact level that it's been. That's a heck of a basketball team on the other side. They're the No. 3 seed for a reason. They're an extremely well coached team. They have a lot of weapons, a lot of depth and a lot of versatility. By no means is this series over. It's going to take the type of energy and effort that we put forth thus far to try to close this thing out.”

On Stephen Curry scoring 22 points in the third quarter:
“I played with Reggie Miller and he was a guy that didn't just do it once, but he did it so many nights when the lights were brightest. Another all-time great shooter. Seemed like every time he let it go out of his hand it was going to touch nothing but net. Steph had one of those quarters, one of those nights. That's the only thing it reminds me of.”

Warriors guard Stephen Curry

On whether he has more injuries than a sprained ankle and sore eye:
“No. Those are two as of right now that just bothering me but, you know, it's a playoffs. You don't have time for excuses. As long as you can play and suit up you got to take advantage of the opportunity.”

On Mark Jackson considering removing him from the game in first half::
“I just stay in tune with the game. Obviously it's his decision what he sees and what lineup he's going to put out there. I think we had a lead at that point so he was going to try to buy some time. I understand that. Obviously it's frustrating because you want to be out there with your teammates, but it was a good call and he put me back in a little later in the second quarter. I was able to get some minutes and it felt better in the second half.”

On his sprained ankle feeling better in the second half:
“I don't know what happened. It took awhile for it to kick in and it got loose as the game went on. I was able to feel like I could move a little better. They were trapping early in the first half so they were just make passes to guys that -- you know, Bogut at the free throw line making plays at the back side so I was able to still have an impact on the game without running around too much.”

Warriors center Andrew Bogut

On how he feels physically:
“I'm okay. It's playoffs, so there's no excuses. Steph is banged up. Everybody is banged up this part of the year. So adrenaline and just making sure I bring energy but, you know, we can't use those as excuses or saying I'm playing better because I feel better. It's the playoffs. We're not going home as they say on TNT. So we don't have the choice to do that.”

On first-quarter dunk that ignited the crowd:
“It was a big play. I shot a floater to the play before. I just gathered myself and the ankle held up on it, too, so that was always good to get up there. But he got me in Game 1 and I don't really play too much into that but it's always good to dunk on whoever it is so a good play.”

On his strong play in the postseason:
“It's good. It's been a tough year for me personally. It's been a very frustrating point in my career with the injuries and coming back from it and question marks on how I've been playing and so on. So I guess the emotion that I let out of a couple of those times was just pent up in the series, just playing with a lot of emotion because I'm just happy to be part of a playoff team. I've been waiting for the playoffs and hopefully we keep going.”

POSTGAME NOTES

INDIVIDUAL

· Stephen Curry scored 22 of his playoff career-high 31 points in the third quarter, including a Warriors playoff-high five threes in the third frame (also a half high)… Curry finished 10-of-16 from the field and 6-of-11 from three-point land and also had seven assists and a playoff career-high four steals… Curry is the first Warrior since Tim Hardaway (May 3-8, 1991) to score 25-plus in three-straight playoff games… No player in NBA history has hit as many threes as Curry’s 18 through the first four playoff games of their career.

· Andrew Bogut tallied a playoff career-high 12 points (all in the first half) to go with five rebounds and two blocks.

· Jarrett Jack tallied 20-plus for the third straight game (21) to go with nine assists, hitting 8-of-9 from the field.

· Draymond Green scored a career-high 13 points and grabbed a playoff career-best six rebounds while hitting two threes for the first time in his career, his third consecutive game with a three (matching a career-long streak).

· Ty Lawson scored 15 of his team-high 26 points in the third quarter.

· Scott Machado made his Warriors debut, scoring two points.

TEAM

The Warriors earned a 3-1 series lead over the Nuggets, their first 3-1 series lead in a playoff series since jumping out 3-1 on the Dallas Mavericks in the First Round of the 2007 NBA Playoffs… The Warriors and Nuggets meet again for Game 5 of the best-of-seven series at Pepsi Center on Tuesday (6 p.m. MDT).

· The Warriors improved to 16-19 all-time in Game 4, including a 13-10 mark at home.

· Golden State ended the first half on an 11-0 run to lead 56-44 at the break and ended the third quarter on a 12-1 spurt to lead 91-72 after three.

· The Warriors have won three-straight despite playing without All-Star forward David Lee (torn right hip flexor), which matches the total number of wins they had in 21 games without Lee in the regular season since he was acquired prior to the 2010-11 season.

· Golden State outassisted Denver 27-14.

· The Warriors outshot the Nuggets 55.7 percent to 46.5 percent and have hit at least 50 percent from the field in each of the last three-straight games, the longest such streak of the season (longest in the postseason since doing so in four-straight games from May 1-8, 1991).

· Denver won the rebounding battle for the first time in the series, 37-29.

· The Warriors sold out their 34th consecutive game (36th this season), the team’s longest sellout streak since the renovation of Oracle Arena increased the building’s capacity from 15,025 to 19,596… Golden State sold out 32 of its 41 regular season home games this season and averaged 19,374 fans, the second best attendance mark in franchise history (behind only 2007-08).