The Warriors looked crisp early in 1st quarter, passing the ball very well, taking an early lead on Denver, as Klay Thompson came out the gates shooting the rock exceptionally well. Klay went 7 of 11 with 17 points to lead the warriors going into the half. Andrew Bogut added 10 points, while Stephen Curry added 7 points and 3 fouls. The Nuggets answered the Warriors in the second quarter Nuggets drawing fouls, getting to the free throw line, and eventually taking the lead in 2nd quarter.
Randy Foye, Nate Robinson, and Ty Lawson, better known as the smurfs, were off running and gunning in the first half.
The Nuggets capitalized on fast break points, outscoring the Warriors 19-6 in that category. The Nuggets were on fire, shooting 61% from the field, including 45% from beyond the arc. Also with the Nuggets going primarily small ball in the first half they still managed to out rebound Golden State 21-18. Bogut’s inside game and presence in the key is crucial to stopping such a fast paced Denver team, who consistently attacked the basket in the 1st half, and did not change their game plan in the second half. The Warriors did, and it left Bogut out of the game for crucial minutes late in the game.
Out the gates in the second half you can see the Warriors focusing on playing defense. The Nuggets did not make their first basket of the second half until the 8 minutes 30 second mark. Slowing down the Nuggets pace was key for Mark Jackson’s team. The Warriors offensively came alive early on in the second half, as Golden State pulled a 180 on Denver, getting the Nuggets into foul trouble early in the 3rd quarter.
The Nuggets continued to push the rock on the Warriors in the late 3rd quarter, as driving to the hoop and hitting 3-pointers were vital to Denver’s success. The Warriors quickly responded with 3 straight 3-pointers, two by Harrison Barnes, and one by Stephen Curry. Curry replaced Klay Thompson guarding Ty Lawson, giving him much more space, daring him to shoot the three pointer. Thompson had been guarding Lawson for most of the game, uptight with press defense, and Lawson had been blowing by him straight to the rack. Curry was able to match Lawson’s quickness, changing Lawson’s game altogether.
Nate Robinson led a second half surge to give the Nuggets a 9 point lead heading into the fourth quarter. It did not stop there, as Denver was relentless on offense, killing the Warriors with the small ball. Robinson had 24 points, Lawson contributed 22 points with 11 assists, Randy Foye had 21, and Wilson Chandler added 22 points. JJ Hickson smashed the boards, grabbing 24 boards, picking Stephen Curry late in the 4th, driving to the basket, only to be fouled by Barnes as he jammed it home. That pretty much explains how the game went for Denver. The Nuggets matched up with the Warriors, and stayed with them every step of the way. This was an offensive game in which Golden State tried to match the Nuggets run and gun style, but fell short in the end 123-116.