The Denver Nuggets and Golden Warriors were polar opposites of one another offensively. The Nuggets scored more points in the paint than any other team in the league this season, while the Warriors were crusing for points from downtown this season. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that this would be the most exciting first round series. In Mile High, both teams whizzed past the checkered flag at a mile a minute. Tonight, Oracle Arena looked more like Daytona Speedway as both teams ignored the shot clock.
After his Warriors bust 131 points on Denver in Game 2, Mark Jackson called Klay Thompson and Steph Curry, the best shooting backcourt in NBA history. However it was another Jackson saying from his broadcasting days that epitomized Game 3 and the entire series as a whole––“Hand down, man down.”
The Warriors defense has been a sieve throughout the series, but in the third they held Denver to 35 percent shooting and forced four turnovers. That 12 minute defensive stand quarter whittled down the Nuggets commanding lead.
An ankle sprain couldn’t slow Curry from dashing up and down the court and firing at the hoop with the efficiency of a sniper at the shooting range.
The Warriors defense had the resilience of wet toilet paper being sliced at by a katana. Curry finished with 29 points, but Ty Lawson was the golden nugget slicing through the Warriors perimeter defense into their vulnerable paint for 35 points. However, in the final minute, Golden State’s defense stood its ground.
Ironically, it was a defensive deflection by Jarrett Jack that nearly put it in the bag for Golden State. However, after a series of miscues and missed free throws, Jack’s brain cooled off for five seconds while he stood still looking for a recipient of his inbounds pass as the Warriors clung to a one point lead.
On the ensuing possession, Lawson found that the Warriors porous defense was suddenly a great wall. The undersized, undermanned Warriors will take a 2-1 lead into Game 4, but this one looks like it’s going the distance. Good thing they brought their track shoes.