DENVER – Kenneth Faried brought the energy and the Denver Nuggets rediscovered their toughness in time to stave off elimination Tuesday 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 Thursday 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 rebounds for Denver.
Stephen Curry, whose 18 three-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 three-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 three-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 threes that would have made it a two-point game with less than two minutes left, and Wilson Chandler’s three 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 rebounds 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.
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.
Nursing a puffy right eye and a sprained left ankle, Curry got off to a rough start, missing six of his nine first-half shots.