Skip to content

Warriors look to close out the Nuggets, but is their focus on the right things?

May 2, 2013, 3:50 PM EDT

Mark Jackson, Stephen Curry AP

The Warriors look to be in a perfect position.

They have the series lead over the Nuggets at 3 games to 2. They’re heading home to Oracle Arena to play a close out game where the fans will create an environment that’s rarely seen in pro sports. They have the best player in the series on  their side and, for the most part, have made the crucial adjustments over the course of the series that should inspire confidence.

Things should be looking up.

However rather than focusing on all the good, the main story heading into this crucial game 6 is all about what the Warriors aren’t happy about. Mark Jackson complained heavily after game 5, calling the Nuggets cheap shot artists for playing a physical style with Stephen Curry. Today he’s taken more offense to comments George Karl made about Warriors’ back up center Festus Ezeli.

The focus has shifted from what needs to happen on the court to what’s going on off of it. And for the Warriors, that’s not necessarily a positive.

If anything, it shows that the Nuggets have invaded their heads and have them thinking about issues that aren’t related to what they need to do on the floor instead of the things that they can actually control. And once players lose sight of the things they can control, it often leads to a decrease in effectiveness.

Make no mistake, Jackson is clearly trying to protect Curry and get his star some calls and trips to the foul line that didn’t come in the last game. He’s also showing he has his players’ backs by speaking up for them in the media. These things, in a vacuum, aren’t bad at all.

But they could also serve as distractions for a young team who doesn’t have much experience winning these types of games. Not to mention that they could be interpreted as a coach who isn’t quite sure if his team can simply go on the court and win if the style of play from game 5 carries over to tonight’s contest.

What the Warriors need to do is find a way to play through whatever tactics the Nuggets are using and get back to playing the style that had them in firm control of the series through five games.

That means taking care of the ball offensively and not committing the types of turnovers that the Nuggets can turn into good scoring chances. It means protecting their offensive glass and not allowing the Nuggets to get the second and third scoring chances that not only lead to points, but slow the Warriors’ open court game that Denver has struggled to defend. It also means getting Curry the space he needs to become the scoring and playmaking threat that terrorized the Nuggets in games two through five.

If they can do those things, they have an excellent shot at winning. But the time has come to stop talking about what the other team is doing and instead focus on what they can do for themselves.

From the Nuggets’ side the equation is roughly the same they used in their game 5 victory. They need to pressure the ball to force miscues, hit open shots to keep the Warriors’ defense honest in their perimeter rotations, and continue to force a physical style of play via bigger lineup combinations that can bang the smaller Warriors around.

Accomplishing this means another strong night from Andre Iguodala on both sides of the ball, for Wilson Chandler and Corey Brewer to hit some of their open jumpers, and for JaVale McGee and Kenneth Faried to control the glass and provide a paint presence on both ends. Add in Ty Lawson pushing the pace and Andre Miller mixing in some good playmaking with his penchant to play isolation ball and the Nuggets have a chance.

Of course none of this will be easy, but the formula is there. If the Nuggets bring the requisite energy and commitment to their game plan, they should be right in the mix to win this game.

Unlike what Mark Jackson seems to be focusing on right now, the game will be won on the hardwood and not in the media. Hopefully his players understand this to be the case and match what the Nuggets are sure to bring to the table tonight. Because if they don’t, this series will head back to Denver for a seventh game.

Latest Posts
  1. Tuesday NBA grades: Chris Paul looks playoff ready

    Apr 16, 2014, 2:42 AM EDT

    Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

    Chris Paul and J.J. Redick look good as Clippers ready for playoffs.

  2. Chris Paul puts Evan Fournier in spin cycle (VIDEO)

    Apr 16, 2014, 12:40 AM EDT

    Los Angeles Clippers v Houston Rockets Getty Images

    Poor Evan Fournier is on the wrong end of a highlight that’s going to get shown a lot for a few days. At least.

  3. Iman Shumpert drops Paul Pierce with the crossover (VIDEO)

    Apr 15, 2014, 11:46 PM EDT

    Miami Heat v New York Knicks Getty Images

    Video of one player executing a crossover that drops another player to the floor — you know you’re watching.

  4. D’Antoni didn’t know draft lottery implications for Lakers after win over Jazz

    Apr 15, 2014, 8:01 PM EDT

    Mike D'Antoni AP

    Mike D’Antoni had no idea how beating the Jazz on Monday would negatively impact his team’s Draft Lottery chances. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

  5. Carmelo Anthony has torn labrum, Knicks shut him down for season

    Apr 15, 2014, 6:43 PM EDT

    Carmelo Anthony AP

    Anthony is out for the rest of the season but will not be surgery and will be good to go next season.

  6. Celtics’ legend Cedric Maxwell stood in location of Boston Marathon bombing just minutes before

    Apr 15, 2014, 5:31 PM EDT

    Just 7-8 minutes before, Cedric Maxwell had stood next to one of the people killed in the Boston Marathon bombing, but he decided to go inside and get warm.

  7. With top spot secure, Pacers to rest George, West, Stephenson, Watson Wednesday

    Apr 15, 2014, 4:41 PM EDT

    Indiana Pacers v Phoenix Suns Getty Images

    With nothing on line Pacers going to rest key guys… except Hibbert.

  8. Could Nets rest guys hoping to face Raptors instead of Bulls in first round? (They didn’t)

    Apr 15, 2014, 3:46 PM EDT

    Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Shaun Livingston, Deron Williams Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Shaun Livingston, Deron Williams

    It’s not something you could ever prove (and the Nets may not even do it), but they could rest guys in hopes of falling into a first-round matchup with Toronto.

  9. Damian Lillard not making friends in latest Foot Locker ad (VIDEO)

    Apr 15, 2014, 2:59 PM EDT

    Portland Trail Blazers v Golden State Warriors Getty Images

    Damian Lillard doesn’t want to end up like all those players without rings. The ones sitting in his living room.

  10. 2014 PBT Awards: Executive of the Year

    Apr 15, 2014, 2:17 PM EDT

    Ryan McDonough Ryan McDonough

    Two general managers make all three ballots, one tops each

  11. Luol Deng wins J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award

    Apr 15, 2014, 1:40 PM EDT

    Paul George, Luol Deng Paul George, Luol Deng

    Award honors ‘outstanding service and dedication to the community’

  12. Fan runs into Chandler Parson’s car on way to game, asks for autograph

    Apr 15, 2014, 1:07 PM EDT

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Houston Rockets Getty Images

    It was just a fender bender, the good news is nobody got hurt. However, Chandler Parsons was delayed getting to the Toyota Center for the Rockets game Monday when he got into an accident. And then the other driver found out who he was and… I will let Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle tell…

  13. Jordan Farmar crosses up Trey Burke, drops him — in the backcourt (VIDEO)

    Apr 15, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

    Utah Jazz v Atlanta Hawks Getty Images

    And Burke is one of the best rookies in this class….

  14. Playoff Chase: We know all 16 teams going to dance, who dances with whom still up in air

    Apr 15, 2014, 11:03 AM EDT

    Jeff Teague, George Hill, David West Jeff Teague, George Hill, David West

    We know for sure the Pacers play the Hawks in the first round, and we know the Rockets and Blazers will meet. After that all the matchups are still up in the air.

  15. Amar’e Stoudemire has discussed playing in Israel

    Apr 15, 2014, 10:33 AM EDT

    Amar'e Stoudemire, Taj Gibson Amar'e Stoudemire, Taj Gibson

    Knicks forward come become free agent this offseason

Featured video

Woodson, D'Antoni's coaching futures
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Williams (4306)
  2. D. Wade (4091)
  3. K. Love (3923)
  4. L. James (3435)
  5. G. Dragic (3353)
  1. C. Anthony (3288)
  2. S. Curry (3275)
  3. D. Howard (3211)
  4. R. Rondo (3027)
  5. D. Lee (2968)