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Warriors shoot, play solid defense and take control of series 3-1 over Nuggets

Apr 29, 2013, 2:18 AM EDT

Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry reacts during their NBA Western Division quarter-final playoff game against the Denver Nuggets in Oakland Reuters

When David Lee went down for the playoffs with a torn hip flexor, the Warriors were going to go small and it was hard to see how they were going to slow down a Denver team that led the NBA in points in the paint this past season. Not that Lee’s a defensive force, but he’s a big body and where was Golden State’s inside/outside balance going to come from?

Meet Andrew Bogut.

Bogut has stepped up like his old self and Stephen Curry has cemented his position as the best shooter in the Association over the last three games.

That combination — and a rash of Denver Nugget turnovers — led the Warriors to a 115-101 win and a commanding 3-1 series lead over the Nuggets. Game 5 is in Denver Tuesday night.

Golden State went small when Lee went down — starting Curry, Jarrett Jack and Klay Thompson — and just decided to run with Denver. Game 4 was played at a pace faster than the Nuggets averaged in the regular season.

It works in part because Bogut is having his best stretch of play since before his elbow injury back in Milwaukee, back when people in the game thought Bogut one of the best centers around. In the first half Bogut went 6-of-9 for 12 points, leading a team that shot 52.5 percent in the first 24 minutes. Bogut was throwing down dunks and roaring at the Nuggets. Denver did a good job of taking the ball out of Curry’s hands — he was just 1-of-3 in the first (and that make was a deep three up against the clock).

But the Nuggets couldn’t take advantage because Warriors also did a good job of crowding the paint and contesting the Nuggets shots when they drove the lane. Bogut again was at the heart of that. Denver shot just 42.9 percent in the first half and the team that led the league in points in the paint in the first half had just 18 points.

Golden State went on an 11-0 to end the first half and lead 56-44 at the break. Denver had six turnovers during that run, 14 for the half and was stalling them out.

That trend continued, Denver ended the game having turned the ball over on 23.3 percent of their possessions. They turned it over almost one if four times down the court.

Denver made a push in the third quarter and got the lead down to four with 6:30 left and looked like they might make the series all square.

Then Curry hit another three and it was on. He finished the third with 22 points, he had the crowd fired up — and there are few crowds louder, few places harder to play when the stadium is rocking than Golden State.

Curry finished with 31 points and the Warriors ran away with it in the fourth quarter. Jack finished with 21 and six Warriors were in double digits. Golden State had 48 points in the paint to 36 for a Denver team that averaged more than 50 a game that way in the regular season.

Golden State has embraced what they had to do after Lee went down, beating Denver at its own game. Denver needs Kenneth Faried and its big men to step up and match Bogut, to defend in the paint. When that happens, the Nuggets can focus on keeping a guy on Curry from the second he steps over the half court line, because right now that’s where his range starts.

Denver is going to need a lot or a team everybody was high on a month ago as a team that could shake up the West will be gone after the first round. Maybe after Tuesday.

  1. rickyspanish - Apr 29, 2013 at 2:42 AM

    That game made me appreciate Golden State. Between Bogut, Curry and that awesome crowd, they made a fan out of me.

  2. saint1997 - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:38 AM


  3. supremekingz - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:45 AM

    I’ll admit it. I didn’t see this coming. I’ve got to stop listening to “the experts”

  4. anhdazman - Apr 29, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    Another great game by Curry and Jack. Bogut finally showing us that he’s healthy and he can be a force.
    Denver looks tired and frustrated. There might not be any fight left in the Nuggets. When they double Curry, other players like Jack, Barnes, Landry, Thompson and Bogut are stepping up. Heck, one of our worst shooters all year, Green have been making big shots along with his excellent defense. GSW has taken this to another level. We can thank Coach Jackson for his leadership on this very young team.

  5. baymac408 - Apr 29, 2013 at 12:02 PM

    Don’t sleep on my team!! I’ve been saying it all year!! We WILL WAKE THE WORLD UP!! Bogut was crashing boards and set us up in the Arena to be LOUD all night!! Set the Tone, The the HUMAN TORCH was on fire.. Steph back jumpers all day no matter where on the floor.. And still had 7 asst. beautiful floaters at the rim!! Shout out to Jack for less turnovers and a good game!! GO WARRIORS!!

  6. 4thquartermagic - Apr 29, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    This series has been painful yet exciting at the same time.

    Painful due to the Nuggets ineptitude at times.
    But exciting due to Curry’s shooting game and game 1 and game 3 going down to the wire.

    With the Nuggets down 1 with 9 secs to go and the ball in game 3, this series still has potential to go 7. At least 6.

    Curry,your an all-star.
    Nuggets, its gut check time.

  7. katra2logic - Apr 29, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    Some love for Jarrett Jack is also in order. He is playing the best ball of his career and I can see him as 6th man of the year in the near future.Cheers :-)

  8. norcalsportsknowledge - Apr 29, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    Warriorsground was rocking again! Nothing beats going to a warriors playoff game. It’s going to be tough to beat the Dubs at home. When Curry hit one from 30+ feet, I knew it was over. Defense has gotten better since Lee went down.

  9. norcalsportsknowledge - Apr 29, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    Bogut picking a good time to be playing his best basketball in a dubs uniform. You could tell in pre game shoot around he had more hops then usual. He was out early working up a sweat, only guy out there earlier was Jack.

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