Nuggets Aren’t Finished Yet
Denver — Kenneth Faried brought the energy and the Denver Nuggets rediscovered their toughness in time to stave off elimination last night with a 107-100 win over the Golden State Warriors.
The Nuggets slowed down Golden State’s guards, jumpstarted their transition game and got under Andrew Bogut’s skin in Game 5, jumping out to a 22-point lead before weathering the Warriors’ frenetic fourth quarter rally.
Game 6 is tomorrow night in Oakland. Golden State leads the series 3-2.
Andre Iguodala had 25 points and 12 rebounds, Ty Lawson had 19 points and 10 assists and Faried had 13 points and 10 boards.
Stephen Curry, whose 18 3-pointers were the most by any player in NBA history in the first four playoff games of his career, went ice cold, missing his first five 3-pointers before finally hitting with 5:09 left to pull Golden State to 96-91.
He finished 1 of 7 from long range and scored 15. Harrison Barnes led Golden State with 23 points and nine rebounds.
Faried responded to Curry’s sole 3-pointer with an alley-oop dunk, helping to settle down the Nuggets, who had much of their lead wither away during Golden State’s 11-0 run bookended by Klay Thompson’s jumpers early in the fourth quarter.
Curry and Thompson missed back-to-back 3s that would have made it a two-point game with less than two minutes left, and Wilson Chandler’s 3 seconds later at the other end made it 103-95. Chandler finished with 19 points.
Faried capped his night with an alley-oop dunk from Andre Miller before fouling out.
The Warriors never got closer than five points after Denver’s first-half blitz led by Faried.
Faried had seven points, eight boards and a big block in the first half as the Nuggets raced out to a 66-46 halftime lead by finally playing their brand of basketball to avoid, at least for now, another early exit from the playoffs.
The third-seeded Nuggets finally played in the postseason like they did in the regular season, when they were the league’s best transition team and piled up points in the paint on their way to an NBA franchise-most 57 wins.
Kidd Wins Sportsmanship Award Again
New York — New York Knicks guard Jason Kidd has become the first player to win back-to-back NBA sportsmanship awards.
Kidd received 91 first-place votes from league players and 2,474 total points yesterday to claim the Joe Dumars Trophy in his first season in New York. He won the award last season, his final one in Dallas.
Three-time winner Grant Hill is only other player to win the award multiple times.