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  2. Golden State vs. Denver
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    4:32 1st
    21 GS
    13 DEN
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    100 PHI
    87 MIA
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    113 LAL
    100 SA
  15. Detroit vs. Oklahoma City
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    111 DET
    112 OKC
  16. Dallas vs. Memphis
    Final OT
    105 DAL
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Nuggets get physical, force Game 5 against Warriors

The SportsXchange

DENVER -- Stephen Curry hurt the Denver Nuggets for three straight games, so they decided to return the favor in Game 5.

They bumped, shoved and bounced the Golden State point guard all over the court to slow him down before he could shoot them out of the playoffs.

"I got a hit out on me," Curry said. "I don't know what it is, just got to keep playing and do your thing."

Denver's strategy worked for one night, at least.

Andre Iguodala had 25 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists, and the Nuggets survived a late rally to beat Golden State Warriors 107-100 Tuesday to stay alive in the Western Conference quarterfinals.

The Warriors lead the series three games to two. Game 6 is Thursday at Golden State, where the Warriors expect the Nuggets to be just as physical.

"It's the series, it's physical, whether they're taking cheap shots or not we need to match that physicality," Andrew Bogut said. "We don't want to come back here. If we come back here the momentum's going to shift and we're in trouble."

Denver's Ty Lawson finished with 19 points and 10 assists, and Wilson Chandler scored 19 points, hitting a key 3-pointer in the final 90 seconds to secure the win.

Curry struggled for the first time since the series opener. He scored 15 points on 7-for-19 shooting but hit only one 3-pointer in seven attempts.

After the game he was sporting a black eye, a large plastic covering on his left hand and had both feet in an ice bucket. His left ankle has been an issue since late in Game 2, and his coach thought the Nuggets targeted the joint in the first half of Game 5.

"The screen on Curry, by the foul line, it was a shot at his ankle, clearly," Mark Jackson said. "That can't be debated. I've got inside information that some people don't like that brand of basketball and they clearly didn't co-sign it. They wanted to let me know they have no part in what was taking place. Let the best team win. Let everybody, with the exception of going down with a freak injury, let everybody leave out of here healthy. That's not good basketball."

The Nuggets feel their physical play is just an answer to how the Warriors have played in this series.

"I think I've taken the hardest hit in the series, Game 1 or 2, when Bogut leaned in to me on a screen," Iguodala said. "And I didn't remember what happened the rest of the game. I think they kind of brought the physicality to the series. And we stopped being the receivers and we're starting to hit back a little bit. But as far as anybody trying to cheap shot, I don't condone that myself. It's not my game."

Harrison Barnes led the Warriors with 23 points and nine rebounds. Jarrett Jack had 20 points and Klay Thompson added 19 for Golden State, which shot 43 percent after hitting more than 52 percent in the previous three games.

The Nuggets avoided being eliminated in the first round for the fourth straight season and the ninth time in the last 10. They most recently got out of the first round in 2009, when they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference finals.

This year's team seemed ready to make a similar run after winning 40 of its last 50 regular-season games, but Golden State had controlled the series since Andre Miller's layup won Game 1. The Warriors' hot shooting and three-guard lineup gave Denver fits and was the big reason Golden State won Games 2, 3 and 4.

The Nuggets counterpunched in Game 5 at home, where they won a team-record 38 games in the regular season. They led from the opening tip and put together a largely dominant performance.

However, the fans had to sweat out a Golden State comeback that nearly stole the game and the series. The Warriors used an 18-4 run, capped by Curry's first 3-pointer of the night, to make it 96-91 with 5:09 left.

Golden State had a chance to cut it to a one-possession game, but Curry and Thompson missed 3-pointers with 1:41 left, and Chandler hit one on the other end to make it 103-95.

"We're up 20 points. We have to put our foot on their neck," Lawson said. "We can't let it get down to nine because with them a nine-point lead is like a three-point lead. They can just come down and hit threes."

The momentum shift -- at least for one night -- started with Denver coach George Karl going to a bigger lineup. He started 7-footer JaVale McGee and sat rookie Evan Fournier, who had struggled against the Warriors.

The move seemed to give the Nuggets a needed boost. Denver led by 14 in the first quarter and by as much as 22 in the second.

The Warriors used a 10-0 run midway through the third quarter to get the deficit to nine, but Denver reeled off 12 straight to lead 86-65 with 3:18 left in the period.

NOTES: The Nuggets haven't lost consecutive home games since February 2012. ... Warriors Jackson said he didn't feel comfortable putting Curry back into Game 4 after taking him out with 9:47 left and his team leading by 17. "I didn't think he was the same. Then, talking to our trainer, he didn't sell to me that he was hurting, but said he was a little bit hobbled," Jackson said. "Steph, he's obviously going to tell me he's fine. He was a little shocked when I took him out. He's a gamer. He stayed ready. That's exactly what I told him. I was hoping to take him out and separate ourselves and win a ballgame without having to go back." ... The arena was only half full at the start of the game and not close to capacity at the end of the first quarter.
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