Denver Nuggets at Golden State Warriors (+1.5, 211)
Golden State leads series 3-2.
The Golden State Warriors did not carry much of the enthusiasm that paced them at home into Denver on Tuesday. Perhaps when the series comes back to Golden State the Warriors will be up for the challenge. Denver established a physicality in Game 5 that did not make Golden State happy, and the Warriors will need to adjust and respond when they take another crack at closing out the best-of-seven Western Conference series on Thursday.
Stephen Curry torched the Nuggets in all three of Golden State’s wins in the series, and Denver made a point of knocking him around a bit at the beginning of Game 5. Already working with a bloodshot right eye from a poke he had taken in the fourth quarter of Game 4, Curry was driven through hard screens in the first four minutes of the game as the Nuggets established the tone. Denver also made a lineup change in Game 5, abandoning the small unit it had used in the previous two games and inserting JaVale McGee at center to pair with Kenneth Faried along the front line.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT, Altitude (Denver), Comcast SportsNet Bay Area (Golden State)
ABOUT THE NUGGETS: Much of the talk after Game 5 centered around the physical play of Denver, especially in regards to Curry. Lost in that chatter was the fact the Nuggets had put together a strong overall performance complete with some efficient first-half offense and contributions from someone other than Ty Lawson. Andre Iguodala stepped up in a big way with 25 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists and Wilson Chandler, freed from the post with McGee and Kosta Koufos playing more minutes, went out to the perimeter and knocked down five 3-pointers, including a crushing dagger when the Warriors were beginning to get back into the game in the fourth quarter. “I think they brought the physicality to the series,” Iguodala said, “and we stopped being the receivers and we’re starting to hit back a little bit.”
ABOUT THE WARRIORS: Curry knocked down 18 3-pointers in the first four games of the series but did not hit one in Game 5 until just over five minutes remained in the game. The Nuggets clearly made the sharpshooter a target, and Faried set one screen at the foul line early in the game that appeared to be a direct blow to Curry’s tender left ankle. “Some dirty plays,” coach Mark Jackson said. “It’s playoff basketball. That’s all right. We own it. But make no mistake about it, we went up 3-1 playing hard, physical, clean basketball - not trying to hurt anybody.” Jackson specifically referenced Faried going after Curry’s ankle, and Curry pointed out more instances where he felt he was targeted. “There were a couple, man,” he said. “Going through the paint minding my own business and they come out of nowhere trying to throw elbows.” While Curry had a rough go of it in Game 5, Golden State also missed the inside production from Carl Landry and Andrew Bogut that had given it a big lift in Game 4. Rookie Harrison Barnes did some of the heavy lifting offensively with 23 points and nine rebounds.
* Over is 18-5 in the last 23 meetings in Golden State.
* Over is 5-2 in the last seven meetings.
* Nuggets are 1-4 ATS in the last five meetings in Golden State.
* Nuggets are 0-5 ATS in the last five meetings.
* Underdog is 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings.
1. Curry averaged 30 points and nine assists in Games 3 and 4 in Golden State.
2. Iguodala is shooting 53.4 percent in the series, including 9-of-21 from 3-point range.
3. Denver outscored the Warriors 50-24 in the paint in Game 5.