Skip to content

Nuggets find their game, hold off the Warriors to take game 5

May 1, 2013, 12:01 AM EDT

Denver Nuggets' Iguodala drives past Golden State Warriors' Curry during their NBA Western Conference quarter-final basketball playoff in Denver

The Nuggets finally looked like themselves this series, and not a moment too soon. By beating the Warriors 107-100, the Nuggets not only staved off elimination, but grabbed some momentum in the process.

Nearly every Nugget win this season saw the same trends develop and this game was no different. Denver scored 50 points in the paint, forced 17 Warrior turnovers (which they turned into 19 points), and worked the offensive glass to grab 15 offensive rebounds (which they turned into 20 points). When Denver can control these three aspects of the game, they become almost unbeatable as the Warriors found out.

The star of the game was Andre Iguodala who put up a LeBron type line, stuffing the stat sheet with a team high 25 points while grabbing 12 rebounds and dishing 7 assists. Iguodala was all over the floor, flashing his versatility by playing a lot of point forward and creating shots for himself and his teammates off the dribble. And when he wasn’t handling the ball, he was working masterfully off it, finding space in the post and punishing the smaller defenders Warriors’ coach Mark Jackson tried to hide on him all night.

Outside of Iguodala, it was a real team effort from Denver who got several strong contributions up and down their roster. Six players scored in double-digits, with Wilson Chandler‘s 19 points via some very good outside shooting helping to create spacing for Ty Lawson (who also scored 19) to create off the dribble and attack the interior of the Warriors’ defense.

But while the Nuggets on the floor clearly picked up their respective games to pick up this win, a lot of credit has to go to head George Karl for pushing the right buttons and making some effective adjustments. Karl switched up his starting lineup, going to JaVale McGee at Center to play next to Kenneth Faried in the front court. McGee’s activity in defending the paint allowed the Denver’s wing defenders to pressure the ball and shoot the gap into passing lanes and create turnovers.

Karl also went away from the Lawson and Andre Miller backcourt — at least early in the game — playing Corey Brewer at shooting guard for extended minutes while also matching up Kosta Koufos against Carl Landry for the majority of his minutes. These shifts kept much more size on the floor and kept the Warriors flustered on offense as they always seemed to run into a bigger, longer defender than they have all series.

In contrast to Karl, Warriors’ head man Mark Jackson made some decisions that he’d likely take back if given another opportunity. For long stretches he tried to hide Curry defensively on Iguodala, but as mentioned that went poorly. He also closed the game with Draymond Green and Festus Ezili rather than playing Andrew Bogut and Carl Landry. Bogut’s absence was particularly glaring as the team missed his defensive presence and work on the glass.

Not to bury Jackson as he did ride out the stretch with the guys who were able to make a push and cut into the Nuggets’ lead to make it a game in the 4th quarter.

After starting so slowly due to some solid defense and some physical play, Curry scored 7 of his 15 points in the final period while also handing out 2 of his 8 assists. Along with Curry, Jarrett Jack and Klay Thompson were key in pulling the Warriors back to within 5 points with only 4:15 left to play, hitting some big baskets while the Nuggets looked more than ready to give up the lead entirely.

But that was as close as the Warriors got. Down the stretch a big three by Chandler and a dunk by Iguodala off an airballed jumper ended up sealing Golden State’s fate.

With the series heading back to Oakland, it remains to be seen if Denver has actually figured things out to the point that they can still pull out the series. But, even if it was just for one night, the Nuggets finally resembled the team they were from the regular season; the team that was favored to win this series.

Latest Posts
  1. Mason Plumlee wants you to know Duke, Nike had nothing to do with him making Team USA

    Sep 1, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT

    Finland v USA Getty Images

    “If you were at our practices and our training camp, anybody that was there, they would see why I made the team.” —Mason Plumlee

  2. Elephant dunks a basketball?

    Sep 1, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    Elephant dunks a basketball.

  3. Report: Rajon Rondo wants to start season with Celtics, see how things unfold

    Sep 1, 2014, 1:31 PM EDT

    Detroit Pistons v Boston Celtics Getty Images

    This makes more sense, but he could get moved near the deadline.

  4. Report: Clippers close to deal with Chris Douglas-Roberts

    Sep 1, 2014, 11:59 AM EDT

    Chris Douglas-Roberts, Gary Neal Chris Douglas-Roberts, Gary Neal

    This would be a solid pickup for the bench, especially at the league minimum.

  5. Heat demote two assistants to hire Juwan Howard

    Sep 1, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    Ron Rothstein and Bob McAdoo lose bench spots, could stay with Miami

  6. Kevin Durant confirms he is staying with Nike

    Sep 1, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

    12-390_Nike_KDV_Upper_Detail-02_original

    This is a win for Jay-Z’s Roc Nation.

  7. James Harden with more bad defense in USA’s win over Turkey (VIDEO)

    Sep 1, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Team USA Practice Session Getty Images

    Harden’s reputation on the defensive end of the floor continues to grow.

  8. Rajon Rondo’s agent denies they asked Celtics for a trade

    Sep 1, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Boston Celtics Getty Images

    Whether he asked out or not doesn’t really change his situation much.

  9. Report: Hedo Turkoglu nearing free agent deal to return to Clippers

    Aug 31, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT

    Washington Wizards v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

    Turkoglu didn’t do much in L.A. last year, but Chris Paul recently touted the importance of consistency in the Clippers’ chances for success next season.

  10. James Harden’s four-point play vs. Turkey (VIDEO)

    Aug 31, 2014, 7:59 PM EDT

    James Harden James Harden

    James Harden makes the PUJIT work for him.

  11. Team USA trails at the half, then pulls away for 98-77 win over Turkey at FIBA World Cup

    Aug 31, 2014, 6:29 PM EDT

    Team USA Showcase Getty Images

    The energy of Kenneth Faried helped Team USA pull away in the second half.

  12. Report: Kings finalizing deal to trade Jason Terry to Rockets

    Aug 31, 2014, 5:31 PM EDT

    Newly acquired Brooklyn Net's NBA player Jason Terry smiles as he is introduced to the media during a news conference in Brooklyn Reuters

    Terry was never going to be a fit in Sacramento, but could be a nice veteran addition for a Rockets team that plans on contending next season.

  13. Report: Grizzlies waive Jamaal Franklin

    Aug 31, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT

    Jamaal Franklin Jamaal Franklin

    Franklin only played one NBA season, but this will open up a roster spot in Memphis.

  14. Timberwolves set record for ticket sales after trading Kevin Love to Cavaliers

    Aug 31, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    Andrew Wiggins Andrew Wiggins

    In some ways, this new beginning in Minnesota is more interesting than if the team had simply proceeded with the status quo.

  15. Thad Young on Sixers rebuild: ‘They were getting rid of everybody and getting worse’

    Aug 31, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    Thaddeus Young AP

    There’s a big difference between the rebuilding that’s taking place in Minnesota and what’s going on with the Sixers.

  16. Report: Nike nearing deal to keep Kevin Durant for next 10 years

    Aug 31, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

    BASKET-TPE-US-NBA Getty Images

    Under Armour made a huge offer, but Nike has exercised its right to match.

  17. Report: Rajon Rondo has told Celtics ‘he wants out’

    Aug 31, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    Rajon Rondo, Kyrie Irving,Tristan Thompson Rajon Rondo, Kyrie Irving,Tristan Thompson

    Rondo is in the same situation Kevin Love was in with Timberwolves, before he was traded to Cavaliers.

  18. Report: Hawks in talks to bring back Elton Brand to round out roster

    Aug 31, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

    Atlanta Hawks v Brooklyn Nets Getty Images

    He played solidly, particularly on defense, for the Hawks last season.

Featured video

Will LeBron get booed Christmas Day in Miami?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (3297)
  2. K. Love (2597)
  3. T. Mozgov (2467)
  4. K. Bryant (2461)
  5. C. Delfino (2343)
  1. L. James (2258)
  2. R. Allen (2200)
  3. J. Embiid (2092)
  4. A. Davis (2054)
  5. D. Waiters (1998)