The Denver Nuggets were lit-up Tuesday night as the Golden State Warriors put on a shooting show at the Pepsi Center. Despite missing their only All-Star in David Lee, the Warriors snapped the Nuggets’ 24-game winning streak at home and evened the NBA playoff series at one game apiece. The series now moves to Oakland for games on Friday and Sunday.
The Warriors kept the game close and finally pulled away because they couldn’t miss a shot. They shot 64.6 percent! If a team shoots this well they are not going to lose the game, even if the other team shoots 50 percent. Stephen Curry, Harrison Barnes, Klay Thompson and Jarrett Jack all scored in double-digits and also helped their team shoot 56 percent from beyond the arc.
The Nuggets scored 117 points, rebounded more and forced more turnovers, but it was all for naught as they lost their first game at home since January 18. Kenneth Faried returned from injury, but seemed out of place, scoring only four points and adding only two rebounds. He got some much-needed playing time coming back from spraining his ankle and hopefully will find his groove more-so in the next game.
Six players were in double-digits for the Nuggets including Ty Lawson who scored 19 with 12 assists. The defensive presence lacked on the other end of the court, however, and when the Nuggets seemed to be scratching back into the game they couldn’t get a stop to save themselves. The Warriors continued to get good looks at the basket, and their shooters continued to nail even the toughest shots.
The defense was dismal, and you can’t win a game allowing 131 points on nearly 65 percent shooting. Coach George Karl must now find a way to combat the effective shooting of the Warriors while continuing to play their offensive game. With Lee out, the Warriors went with a small starting lineup and it worked wonders, for one game at least.
The big men for Denver must have more of a presence in the paint, and the team must do its best not to leave shooters open for shots. A sweep is out for the Nuggets, and they must now win a game in Oakland in order to move on to the semifinals. The Warriors had their way with the Nuggets in game two, and it’s now time for Denver to rally and return to a game which favors their own pace and intensity.
The Warriors stole one from the Nuggets so now the Nuggets must go to Oakland and steal at least one in order to be confident about moving on in the postseason. The team as a whole needs to pick up its defensive intensity and hopefully Faried will look more like the Manimal in Friday’s game.
The subs for Golden State combined for only 24 points, so if the Nuggets can find a way to take their starters out of the game and make sure they are shooting contested shots, there’s no way they can consistently shoot as well as they did in game two.
The Nuggets are down for the moment, but they are definitely not out. They must now go into Oakland and do their best to take the home crowd out of the game, hopefully early on. The team has shown they can score points in bunches, and now they just need to deny the other team from doing so.