DENVER-- The Warriors left the Pepsi Center Tuesday night with a 3-2 advantage and a chip on their shoulder. They claimed the defense on Steph Curry was "dirty" and taht the Nugget put "hitmen" out to try and injure the en fuego point guard.
Whether the contact Denver forced on Curry was legal or not, the one thing the Nuggets did for certain was attack Curry in the best way they have all series.
Finally, after a series where he has absolutely destroyed the Denver defense, the Nuggets made defensive adjustments that worked on Curry, putting more pressure off the pick and roll, keeping a man on him at all times, and forcing him into 15 points on 19 shots. Curry did have 8 assists and 2 turnovers, but the work can't be denied.
Specifically, the Nuggets got way further up in the pick and roll to challenge Curry immediately.
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"I hope they understand that we can't let the Warriors have open shots," Nuggets coach George Karl said after the game." I thought tonight we were conscious of staying up on the pick and rolls and we didn't chase him. We just wanted to make sure that we were up and he couldn't shoot the ball."
Karl said the team would rather have Curry attck inside, which Curry did several times, but shot just 3-7 in the pain, via NBA.com.
For much of the year when the Nuggets would struggle defensively, Ty Lawson would not the bigs' struggles to attack appropriately in getting up to help the guards. After Game 5, he credited the bigs with getting the job done.
"They definitely did (step up and help more). It's going to be a great lineup with Faried and JaVale in the lineup," Lawson said. "When they help us, they help themselves. Kosta (Koufos) is banging, he was more physical than he was all series. That's what we need, to be more physical than them."
Koufos' stats (3-6 from the field six points, five rebounds) don't stand out, but it was a huge game for Koufos, who seemed to struggle with confidence and battling Andrew Bogut inside. But it was the pressure they applied on Curry that helped to contain the Warriors' attack.
"The biggest thing is to contain the shooters," Koufos said. "Which we did a great job of.
Our mentality is to allow nothing, but it's hard to do that because they're going to get looks here or there and they're great shooters. We can't get down about it when they make shots."
In a series where the Warriors have made an unbelievable amount -- contested, uncontested, in the lane, from mid-range, from 35 feet -- for a night, the Nuggets were able to find a way to slow down the onslaught.
Now we wait to see if it's possible to keep the fire out for three games straight.
Game 6 tips Thursday night at 10:30 ET in the Roaracle of Oracle Arena.