Warriors seize Nuggets series by the throat

ORACLE ARENA — The Warriors dominated Game 4 against the Nuggets to take a commanding three games to one lead in the best-of-seven series winning 115-101 Sunday night.

Golden State knew how important Game 4 was. Win and you lead the series. Lose and you hand the momentum back to Denver.

Stephen Curry spent the first half of the game unusually cold, then came out of halftime and lit up the scoreboard. He carved up Denver in the key third quarter, scoring 22 of his 31 points in that period.

Denver surged with a 7-0 Ty Lawson run early in the third quarter to make it an eight-point Warriors lead. Lawson single-handedly kept his team in the game scoring 15 of his 26 points in the period.

Though Lawson was hot, Curry was hotter. His production in the third helped to build up a 19-point Warriors lead.

Lawson was disappointed in his team’s inability to handle Curry and they way they failed to come back:

Nuggets guard Ty Lawson

“It’s just shocking man. We made a little run in the third but then they came right back and we didn’t respond. It felt like we might be getting punked out there a little bit and not sharing the ball but we got to have a better showing, especially when we go back home.”

Head coach Mark Jackson said anyone realizing now that Curry is a superstar is showing up late:

Warriors Head Coach Mark Jackson

“We’ve been watching it all year long.  He’s put this team on his back and he’s made plays.  He is an elite basketball player and its great to see.”

Curry was poked in the right eye by Corey Brewer early in the fourth quarter. Even though he would return to the game, he will head to Denver with another injury added to the Warriors’ list.

But Curry isn’t allowing any  injury to shake his confidence or keep him from shooting the ball:

Warriors Guard Stephen Curry

“You know, it’s the playoffs.  You don’t have time for excuses.  As long as you can play and suit up you’ve got to take advantage of the opportunity.”

Curry’s finger roll lay-up with 3:53 left in the third kept the crowd on its feet. Moments later, his pull-up 3-pointer from the top of the key brought the house down as the Warriors extended their lead to an at the time game-high 17 points.

Curry drained another triple — scoring five 3-pointers in the quarter — as the Warriors led 91-72 at the end of three quarters.

A dejected Denver coach George Karl said the next two days would be difficult and that finding confidence will be key for the Nuggets:

Nuggets coach George Karl

“We are the team without confidence and they are the team with confidence.  The two things I’m thinking of in the film is the defense and the pass.  We have to get the pass back in the offensive side of the court.”

With David Lee out due to a torn right hip flexor, other Warriors have had to step up and make their presence known. Sunday, they did it with style.

Andrew Bogut finally gave a performance worthy of the Monta Ellis trade that brought him to Golden State, scoring 12 points, including eight in the first quarter and a posterizing dunk over Javale McGee.

Andrew Bogut highlight dunk

Denver center, Kenneth Faried, said it was difficult watching Bogut dominate the paint:

Nuggets center Kenneth Faried

“We weren’t getting back fast enough and he was able to drive and finish and do his dunks and that’s kind of demoralizing when you got a guy who comes down and just dunks on one of your players to get the crowd behind him. It’s hard.”

Bogut told SFBay after the game that being able to set the tone for the night and get going early is something he’s been waiting for all season:

Warriors Center Andrew Bogut

“It’s been a tough year for me personally.  It’s been a very frustrating point in my career with the injuries and coming back from it and the question marks on how I’ve been playing and so on…I’m playing with a lot of emotion because I’m just happy to be part of a playoff team.  We’ve been winning in the playoffs and hopefully keep going.”

Draymond Green added to the Warriors success, having the game of his life, scoring a career-high 13 points off the bench and managed six rebounds and four steals.

The Warriors travel to Denver Tuesday for Game 5 and a chance to close out the first-round series. Tip-off is at 5 p.m. with local broadcast on CSN Bay Area and national broadcast on TNT.

Notes

The Warriors earned their first 3-1 series lead in a playoff series since the first round of the 2007 NBA Playoffs. … The Warriors have won three-straight despite playing without All-Star forward David Lee. In all three games, Coach Jackson announced Carl Landry as his starting power forward then replaced him at tipoff with Jack. Jack tallied 20-plus for the third straight game (21) to go with nine assists, hitting 8-of-9 from the field.The Warriors outshot the Nuggets 55.7 percent to 46.5 percent and have hit at least 50 percent from the field in each of the last three games. … Curry had a Warriors playoff-high five threes in the third quarter (also a half high) and is the first Warriors since Tim Hardaway to score 25-plus in three-straight playoff games. … Scott Machado made his Warriors debut, scoring two points one day after finishing runner-up in the NBA D-League finals.