(DEN Leads Series 1-0)
The Warriors lost a heartbreaker on Saturday, falling to the Nuggets 97-95 in Denver in Game 1 of their first round playoff series. Stephen Curry drained a corner three to tie the game with 14 seconds left, but Andre Miller dropped in a layup with 1.2 seconds remaining to win the game for the Nuggets. Klay Thompson was rolling early and led the Warriors with 22 points. Curry had a rough shooting first half, but got back on track in the second, finishing with 19 points and nine assists. David Lee notched a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds, but left the game in the fourth quarter with an apparent hip injury and did not return to the game. The Warriors will get a chance at redemption on Tuesday when they play the Nuggets in Game 2 in Denver. Game 1 Reaction Blog
On the message he had for his team after the loss:
“I thought we did some things very well. Rebounding, defending, we shared the basketball. There are some things we have to do a better job at but at the end of the day, what I told my team was that nobody came in here thinking that we were going to sweep the Denver Nuggets. You have to win four games to advance and you can’t act like it’s over so take the blow and be ready to make adjustments and respond.”
On if he was suprised that the ball went to Andre Miller:
“No. The type of game he was having, carried him at times and he made some tough plays, even that last one was a tough play. That’s who he is. He has made a living doing that so I wasn’t surprised at all.”
On the pace of the game:
“It played out well I thought. I thought we had a very good performance of executing our game plan. We made plays, we made shots, we defended. I thought in the first half we got some great looks, we just couldn’t find the rim. But overall, we kept a body on [the Nuggets]; we were physical. I thought at times we were a little careless but that’s to be expected with a young basketball team. I am proud of my guys; we put ourselves in a position to win the ball game but unfortunately, we fell short.”
On the potential absense of David Lee:
“It is unfortunate. He is certainly a highlighted guy for us, somebody we count on. At the same time, we prepared all season long. We believe in our guys to the bottom. So we feel comfortable and confident to whoever has to step up in his place, and we are, and always will be, a no-excuse basketball team.”
On if he saw Ty Lawson's steal coming at the end of the game:
“No, [the Nuggets] switched the down pick for me at the elbow and I was waiting for a pick-and-roll for the play that we designed in the huddle and [Ty Lawson] made a good defensive play and caught me off guard and obviously finished off at the other end. It is just an individual making a good defensive play when they needed it.”
On the looks Golden State had in the first half:
“We had great looks, myself included. I had good looks. I think I might have forced one shot when I rushed it but for the most part, I felt good about every shot I took. Every guy in the locker room was talking about that at half time; we all had decent looks at the basket so just to continue our offense and continue to be aggressive and shots would start following and that’s what happened in the second half. The ball was moving pretty well throughout the course of the game.”
On if it's more difficult to guard the Nuggets because they don't have a superstar:
“I think it makes it easier. Everybody on the court has to worry about their individual matchup and you just stick to your natural game plan of your defense. You know where the hell you are supposed to be; you don’t really have to double-team much like with a guy that can just drop into the post. We like to just stay solid, trust our one-on-one defense. I think certain possessions down the stretch, obviously like the last play, Draymond [Green] made a good defensive effort, [Andre Miller] just made a quick adjustment at the end to get the ball on the back board. We like that matchup for Draymond to come in and get that stop for us. We are not going to try and change anything in that regard. We are going to continue to be aggressive in our one-on-one defense and trust each one of those guys in their jerseys.”
On the challenge of guarding Andre Miller at 37 years old:
“The age number doesn’t really have anything to do with it. He is a very crafty veteran and he specializes in what he does. I think that is what has allowed him to play as long as he has and be effective as long as he has. He does a great job of getting to his spots on the floor and trying to capitalize.”
On the looks Golden State had in the first half:
“We are not into moral victories. In a simple phrase, we play good enough to lose, so to speak. We did some good things, we did some things that we need to get better at. For the most part, I thought we did played our plan and it was successful; not turning the ball over, not allowing [the Nuggets] to score in fast-break points and making them score in the half-court.”
On how the Warriors respond to opponent's runs:
“That’s always our mindset. Each team is in the playoffs for a reason. They are going to make runs. How you respond and how you are able to end them, is the biggest statement. [The Nuggets] came out and hit us hard; they made some tremendous plays. Corey Brewer had a couple of transition baskets but we didn’t hang our heads, we knew we still had time on the clock and we played until there were three-zeros left on the clock. We gave ourselves an opportunity and tied the ball game late; [Stephen Curry] had a huge shot for us in the corner. It came down to a play at the end; that Andre Miller made a good play.”
WELCOME TO THE PLAYOFFS
The Warriors and Nuggets tip off their first round playoff series with a Saturday matinee. Tipoff is set for 2:30 p.m. (Pacific), and the game will be broadcast locally on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and KNBR 1050. Those outside of the Bay Area will be able to catch the action on ESPN. After Saturday’s lid lifter, the series will continue on Tuesday in Denver before moving to the Bay Area for Games 3 and 4 on Friday, April 26, and Sunday, April 28. For comprehensive and behind-the-scenes coverage of the series, be sure to visit Warriors Playoff Central.
BY THE NUMBERS
Many NBA observers expect to see a track meet break out when the Warriors square off with the Nuggets, and there’s plenty of evidence to support that train of thought. Denver is the leading-scoring team in the NBA (106.1 ppg) and they are second in pace (97.76 possessions per 48 minutes), while the Warriors rank seventh (101.2) and fourth (96.81) in those categories, respectively. However, both teams have stayed pretty true to their season scoring averages in this season’s head-to-head matchups. For further by-the-numbers analysis of this series, click here.
ALL EYES ON CURRY
Stephen Curry enters his first professional postseason as the reigning Western Conference Player of the Month. Curry averaged 25.4 points and 8.1 assists, while shooting 46.5 percent from the field and 44.4 percent from three-point range in this season’s last eight regular season games. Always known for his out-of-this world jumper, the fourth year guard has taken his 3-point shot to another level over the last week. He went 20-of-39 (51.3 percent) over the final three games to finish the season with an NBA record 272 three-pointers, breaking the single-season mark set by Ray Allen in 2005-06 (269). MORE INFO: PLAYER OF THE MONTH | 3-POINT RECORD
The Denver Nuggets had quite an impressive season, and they might just be playing their best ball of the season right now. That’s exactly how every team wants to enter the playoffs, and that’s exactly what George Karl has managed to get out of a squad that truly fits the definition of “team”. Lacking any single true superstar (looks like things have worked out for Carmelo in NYC), the Nuggets might more accurately personify the “greater than the sum of its parts” metaphor than any contending team in recent memory. From the starting five to the end of the bench, Denver is a tough, talented opponent that has the ability to run you right out of the building. Get more information on the Nuggets in our in-depth series preview.
PREDICTING A BREAKOUT STAR
It seems like in every sport at every level, there is always a non-heralded player who plays a key role in his or team’s postseason run. Stars will be stars, but that one “role player” who steps up can sometimes be the difference a playoff series. Trying to identify that player beforehand could be a difficult task, which is why we hand it over to the Bloggers Roundtable.
GSW: Draymond Green (right knee tendinitis) and Andris Biedrins (lower back tightness) are questionable. Brandon Rush (torn ACL and MCL, left knee) is out. Scott Machado is on assignment with Santa Cruz in the NBA D-League.
DEN: Kenneth Faried (left ankle sprain) and Timofey Mozgov (left thumb fracture) are day-to-day. Danilo Gallinari (left ACL tear) and Julyan Stone (sprained MCL, right knee) are out.