Don’t look now, but the Golden State Warriors are playing at a tenacious level. The No. 6 seed in the West looks poised to advance and play in a highly-anticipated series against the No. 2 seeded San Antonio Spurs.
First things first — they still must win one more against the Denver Nuggets.
With Stephen Curry running the point, that doesn’t look to be a problem. This team can run and gun with the best of them.
Sunday night, the sharp-shooting Curry, who is battling an ankle injury, took over midway through the third quarter in a tightly-contested game, scoring 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting in the period. The Warriors went on to rout the Nuggets 115-101 and head to Denver with a 3-1 series lead.
Statistically speaking, a 3-1 lead bodes well for the Warriors. In 210 tries, just eight teams have come back to win the series from a 3-1 deficit.
Game 4 saw the Warriors hold a 56-44 advantage at the break behind just seven Curry points. Andrew Bogut looked like the Andrew Bogut of old. The grizzly-bearded center scored 12 points in the first half, six of them coming on high-flying dunks.
In the third, the Nuggets cut their deficit to four at 66-62 after a Ty Lawson bucket at the 6:43 mark. The first 5:17 of the period belonged to Lawson as the speedy guard sliced and diced in the lane to an impressive 15-point quarter.
What Lawson did, however, took a backseat to the last 6:43 that was owned by Curry.
With his team up by just four points, and still held personally at zero points for the quarter, Curry finally took over.
It started with a three. 69-62, Warriors.
Lawson answered with another jumper to cut it to five. After a Warriors timeout, Corey Brewer made 1-of-2 free throws to get it back to four, but that was all the closer the Nuggets would get on a night that will forever be remembered as Curry’s night.
After a Jarrett Jack basket pushed the Warriors lead to six, Curry began to stop and pop.
Wherever he shot, they all seemed to go in. He drilled a 25-footer to extend the lead to nine. A short teardrop followed. An 18-footer after that. With his confidence growing, the shots got deeper.
Curry launched an absurd 29-footer that splashed through the net.
Take it to the bank. Cash. Money.
Behind an absolute raucous ORACLE Arena crowd, one would say Curry was feeling it.
The 6’3 guard followed his deep trey-ball with a layup-and-1 that pushed the Warriors lead to 14.
Curry then picked Lawson’s pocket on the defensive end and weaved up the court, looking for an open spot on the floor to again stop and pop. He found one deep from the top of the key and drilled it.
The Curry flurry continued after the Nuggets called timeout with 1:10 remaining as he nailed his final three points from the corner that gave the Warriors a 91-72 third quarter lead. The only thing that would have topped off Curry’s unbelievable quarter was if his half-court heave, which hit the backboard, had banked in.
In a flash, Game 4 was in the books with a quarter left to play. Curry had regained the Warriors’ momentum.
They’ll need to carry that momentum to Denver as the Nuggets owned the best regular-season home record at 38-3.
However, a convincing 131-117 Game 2 win on the road provides Golden State with plenty of confidence.
With Curry at the point dishing dimes and stroking threes (at a 44% clip), confidence won’t be an issue.
Game 5 airs Tuesday night on TNT at 8:00 p.m.