Denver Nuggets : 101 : : Golden State Warriors : 115 — April 28, 2013 (GAME 4)
"I’m stupid, you’re smart. I was wrong, you were right. You’re the best, I’m the worst. You’re very good looking, I’m not attractive."
This is how I felt watching Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors tonight. It was absolutely incredible and everything was just right. They led by 12 at the half, which you can basically attribute to Andrew Bogut’s dunk-a-thon as he put in all 12 of his points during that time, but Stephen Curry was just 1-of-3 and visibly slowed by his sore left ankle.
Bogut got the crowd going and had the Nuggets on the ropes, but the Warriors looked to be in a bit of trouble as Ty Lawson scored 15 points in the first six minutes of the third to pull his team within 5… And then came Curry with the knockout punch, perhaps for the entire series, sending the crowd into a total frenzy. He scored 22 points in the quarter, drawing from a veritable horn of plenty filled with an array of smooth shots, wild pull-ups and nifty dribble moves. The Nuggets will be lucky if they’re able to pick up all their teeth from the mat because this one was a doozy.
Now, it’s clear that I severely overestimated the Nuggets’ defense, but realistically, there was no defense that was going to stop some of those shots he took. Earlier on Sunday, Carmelo Anthony looked like me trying to play NBA 2K13 on Hall of Fame difficulty, taking a ton of bad shots and coughing up a ton of turnovers, but Curry looked like the AI I play against in 2K13 and if you’ve ever played that game, you’ll know that Denver was facing something absolutely unstoppable and endlessly infuriating. So yeah, there might be no defense that can matchup with Curry when he’s on fire like that, but I can guarantee you that if there is, it doesn’t involve Andre Miller in any way. At all. Ever. For any reason.
I’m not totally sure why Corey Brewer and Andre Iguodala didn’t spend more time guarding Curry, but he’s not the only guy inflicting serious damage. The Nuggets can’t really seem to guard anyone. They’re letting ball handlers waltz into the paint (Jarrett Jack had 21/5/9 on 8-of-9 shooting from the field) and either hit shots or make a good pass against the collapsing defense that has Denver all out of whack. If they aren’t doing that, they’re trying to trap the point guards and force the ball out of their hands, which leads to the same easy looks at the rim or passes back out to open shooters. A team that has the defensive wings and general wingspan of the Nuggets shouldn’t be struggling like this.
Golden State is capable of hitting any and all kinds of shots so they’re dangerous no matter what and Denver isn’t playing like themselves at all, but at the same time, the Warriors aren’t totally playing like themselves either. In this instance that’s a good thing because it means they’re playing extremely efficiently and doing what the matchup dictates on defense (namely getting back in transition). I didn’t know they had it in them.
I’ll probably keep doubting them, because nothing disappears against good teams quite like hot shooting and I’m kind of stubborn. They’re not one dimensional right now though so I fully expect them to take this series and challenge the Spurs in the next. The Nuggets don’t have to go out like punks in Game 5, but man, they definitely got punked tonight. If the Warriors can’t seal it in Denver, I have a feeling the Oracle Arena won’t mind them returning for another.
Golden State Warriors lead the series 3-1