It is tough to win on the road when you dig yourself into a first-half hole. As the Golden State Warriors learned, it is on the verge of impossible to win after digging a hole on the road against the Denver Nuggets.
After trailing by 20 at halftime, the Warriors put together a series of runs to make things interesting, but fell by a final score of 107-100.
Golden State went the final 2:14 without a field goal and bricked their last four three-point attempts. On the other end, Denver used clutch offense from Andre Iguodala, Ty Lawson and Wilson Chandler to put the game out of reach.
Lawson, who finished with 19 points and 10 assists, netted nine points in the final 4:18 of the game. Iguodala posted game highs of 25 points and 12 rebounds, as well as some stellar defense on Stephen Curry.
He held Curry to just 15 points on 7-of-19 shooting and 1-of-7 from beyond the arc.
Within five and under two minutes to go, both Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson missed open threes on the same possession. When the ball went the other way, Wilson Chandler, who scored a career playoff-high 19 points, bucketed his fifth three from the corner.
The Warriors never seemed to throw in the towel, as a Klay Thompson three cut the Nuggets lead to nine with 6:39 remaining. Then 10 straight Warriors points from the hands of Stephen Curry brought his team to within five with five minutes to go. The cherry on top was his first trey of the game.
I like the goon shove by Bogut.Shouldn't be a flagrant.Allow these guys to police themselves....— Brian Geltzeiler (@hoopscritic) May 1, 2013
Things got chippy early on, as Andrew Bogut retaliated after Kenneth Faried's rough treatment of Steph Curry. Faried had to be feeling a little extra pressure facing elimination.
Faried and company had little to worry about in the first half. The Nuggets completely slaughtered Golden State before intermission, heading into the second half up 66-46.
Faried earned his first double-double of the series, going for 13 points and 10 boards. He also earned every ounce of the "Manimal" moniker, with a series of monster athletic plays.
Golden State started going with a super small lineup midway through the third quarter. It was a desperation move, but it helped cut the deficit to single digits.
Warriors going super small now with Draymond Green at center and Harrison Barnes at power forward.— Rusty Simmons (@Rusty_SFChron) May 1, 2013
Iguodala then took part in seven straight points, featured on a 12-0 run by the Nuggets to rebuild some separation.
Iguodala is dominating the Warriors— Marcus Thompson (@gswscribe) May 1, 2013
After averaging 27.3 points in the four previous playoff outings, Curry had just eight points on 4-of-14 shooting through three quarters.
The Warriors did feature a couple of bright spots, with two rookies performing well beyond their years. Harrison Barnes went for 23 points and nine rebounds.
Harrison Barnes' composure is pretty remarkable for a rookie. Actually, it's pretty remarkable for a veteran, too.— Matt Steinmetz (@MSteinmetzCSN) May 1, 2013
Mark Jackson leaned heavily on Festus Ezeli late in the game, giving the big man 14 minutes in total. He finished with eight points and five rebounds, getting to the line for nine attempts.
Warriors may not pull this off, but the minutes they're getting from Ezeli are huge heading into Game 6 and beyond.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) May 1, 2013
Draymond Green continued to set the tone for Game 6 (which should be a physical contest) ahead of time, with a flagrant foul of Faried in the fourth quarter.
Draymond took a shot at Faried and gets a flagrant— Marcus Thompson (@gswscribe) May 1, 2013
The Nuggets live to fight another day but will return to Golden State Thursday night for Game 6. There, the Warriors will look to close things out on their home court.
The San Antonio Spurs, meanwhile, continue to rest up after their quick sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers.