ORACLE ARENA — The sixth-seed Warriors seized control of their best-of-seven series against Denver with an electrifying 110-108 triumph Friday night.
Any concerns surrounding Stephen Curry’s recently-sprained left ankle evaporated quickly.
His contributions — along with key support from Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry — were critical. Curry finished with a team-leading 29 points and 11 assists, with Jack adding 23 points and Landry coming off the bench to add 19.
Curry has been known for his shooting from long range, but consecutive tear drop running jump shots in the fourth quarter may have been his most impressive four points of the night.
Head coach Mark Jackson said Curry was so impressive that he still deserves an apology for being snubbed an All-Star bid:
Warriors coach Mark Jackson
“I mean the guy made big time plays man. I’m still baffled, and I know it’s gonna sound like a broken record, but somebody owes the kid an apology. Please write an article and say sorry. He’s an all-star. He’s a big time player and he made big time plays.”
In the loss, Ty Lawson had the game of his life, scoring a game-high 35 points with 10 assists. He said after the game that he was ready for battle:
Nuggets guard Ty Lawson
“We’re ready for war man. … the place is crazy with their fans. They’re going to be ready to try to go up 3-1 on us next game so we’re ready for war, at least I am. The next game’s a big game and everybody”s got to be ready.”
The Warriors took their largest lead of the game with a 3-pointer by Draymond Green from the right corner with 9:51 remaining. That became a six-point cushion on a driving jump shot by Landry with 9:11 left.
Following two free throws to make it a two-point Golden State edge, Klay Thompson’s driving layup gave the Warriors a four-point cushion. A couple of shots from the charity stripe by Curry and the Warriors led 108-102 with 1:54 left.
Lawson made a driving layup and the foul and Lawson gave an emphatic wave with his fist after drawing the foul. On the ensuing possession, Andrew Bogut turned the ball over.
But Jack made one of two free throws for a 109-105 Warriors lead with 21.5 seconds to play.
Wilson Chandler nailed a 3-pointer from the left corner with 16.5 seconds left.
Jack dribbled the ball to the timeline and the Warriors called timeout with 9.4 seconds. But Jack took too long trying to inbound the ball and turned it over on a five second violation.
Lawson, though, gave it right back dribbling the ball out of bounds. Replays clearly proved that Lawson lost the handle, fell and the ball bounded out of play.
Harrison Barnes sunk one of two free throws with 3.7 seconds left to extend the Warriors’ lead to two at 110-108.
Denver had a chance to win it at the buzzer on a shot from half-court by Andre Iguodala but the shot missed off the rim and the Warriors escaped with the victory. After the loss, Iguodala walked out of the locker room without speaking to reporters.
Jack, who was second in scoring for the Warriors, also finished with seven turnovers including the crucial five second inbounds violation late in the game. Even with a victory, he said he wasn’t satisfied:
Warriors guard Jarrett Jack
“I’ve got to do a better job of taking care of the basketball. Had some moments where I know the team depends on me to come through and just can’t have those type of mental mistakes at this point in season.”
Coaches and players alike marveled at the energy of the crowd and the difference in noise level and excitement compared to the regular season.
The sellout crowd clad was a sea of yellow that hardly sat down the entire game. Chants ranged from “lets go Warriors” to “MVP” when Curry had the ball, and “Bogut” when the bigman was shooting free throws.
Warriors guard Stephen Curry
“It was amazing from the time we step on the court for layups and warm ups chanting “let’s go Warriors” and all the yellow shirts and just the energy, it was crazy. The fans really had that energy stored up and they brought it tonight so it was a great atmosphere and to get the win on top of that to show how much we appreciate them.”
Game 4 will be at Oracle Sunday at 6:30 p.m. and can be seen on TNT or CSN Bay Area.
This marks the first series lead for the Warriors since defeating the Dallas Mavericks 4-2 in the first round of the 2007 NBA Playoffs. … The Warriors shot 61.1 percent in the first quarter and have shot 60 percent or better in four straight quarters. … Denver scored 30 points on 23 Warriors turnovers. Both teams combined for 41 giveaways. … There were 16 lead changes and nine ties. … The Warriors outrebounded Denver 42-34 and have beaten the Nuggets in rebounds in all three games. … Curry is the first Warrior with consecutive games of 20 points and 10 assists in the playoffs since Tim Hardaway (May 8-10, 1991).