Golden State Warriors : 100 : : Denver Nuggets : 107 — April 30, 2013 (GAME 5)
"If we played dirty, they must’ve played unsanitary." -JaVale McGee
Maybe Denver’s crappy defense made the Warriors think it would be easy, but after what they did to them in Game 4, I’m glad to see some life back in the Nuggets. I think McGee is right; Golden State gave as good as they got, whether it was retaliation, frustration or a just part of their own physical game. I don’t think they’re making excuses (more likely just trying to work the refs), because they readily admit they got outplayed, but they should know (not from experience, but from reading it somewhere, I guess) that few playoff teams are going to let them waltz into the paint like Denver has. Maybe those other teams wouldn’t pop Steph Curry in the eye (some definitely would), but they’re going to get physical with you if that’s what it takes. Props to the Warriors for sticking with the it and fighting back, even if they’re looking a little worn by the whole thing.
It wasn’t enough though and despite slowing in the second half, allowing the Warriors back into the game in the fourth, this is probably the best the Nuggets have played in the series thus far. They got up and out early with Kenneth Faried looking the best he has in the series and JaVale McGee in the starting line-up for the first time all year, taking an 18-2 advantage in points in the paint after one period (50-24 by the end of the night) and finally playing like the regular season version of themselves at least for stretches. Stephen Curry struggled early, but came on a bit stronger late in the game, going for 15 points, 4 rebounds and 8 assists (just 1-of-7 from three), but Andre Iguodala (25/12/7 on 10-of-17 shooting) and Wilson Chandler (19 points on 5-of-11 from three) were on fire from tip-off.
You know how often Iguodala and Chandler will look like the figurative deadeye to Curry’s literal dead eye? The Mullin to his Monta? The really good to his really bad? It’s basically “never again” so the Nuggets are still trying to work things out. Corey Brewer going nuts and shooting 1-of-11 on some awful, awful shots is one thing to work on, but George Karl’s move to start JaVale McGee against Andrew Bogut (1-of-4, 2 points and 5 rebounds in only 18 minutes) might have the Warriors looking to make adjustments as well. Denver’s in a position where they’ll need to win two more games, one of them in Oakland, where most of their nightmares are being manufactured, so it’s on them to make it a contest. The Warriors are more than capable of backing into one more home win.
Golden State Warriors lead the series 3-2