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Warriors 115, Nuggets 101

The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Stephen Curry put on one of the most spectacular displays in Golden State playoff history, exploding for 19 points over the final 4:22 of the third period, almost singlehandedly thwarting a Denver Nuggets comeback and leading the Warriors to a 115-101 victory in Game 4 of the teams' Western Conference first-round playoff series.

Curry finished with 31 points and seven assists, hitting 10 of his 16 shots and six of his 11 3-point attempts.

The Warriors, making their first postseason appearance since 2007, the year they upset top-seeded Dallas in the first round, can close out the third-seeded Nuggets in Game 5 on Tuesday night in Denver.

A Game 6, if necessary, would be in to Oakland, where the Warriors swept a pair from the 57-win team over a three-day span after gaining a split in the first two games in Denver.

Just when the Nuggets appeared to be positioning themselves for a second-half run Sunday, Curry took over the game with a shooting display rarely seen under the postseason spotlight.

It had to be something special to outshine what Denver point guard Ty Lawson was doing at the other end of the floor, but special it was.

After Lawson poured in 15 points in fewer than six minutes to help the Nuggets trim a 12-point halftime deficit to 69-64 near the midpoint of the third quarter, the Curry show began shortly thereafter.

Jarrett Jack hit a 15-footer to extend the Warriors' lead to six at the 4:50 mark of the period. Then Curry took over.

Having scored just seven points in the first half and then only three more in the first seven-plus minutes of the third period, Curry began his flurry with a 3-pointer, a driving hoop and an 18-footer as Golden State's lead reached 78-68.

It was still just an eight-point game as the clock went under two minutes remaining in the period, and that's when Curry applied the knockout blow to the Nuggets.

He buried a step-back 26-footer and turned a rare drive into the lane into a three-point play on a floater for a 14-point lead.

Then he stunned the Nuggets twice in transition with quick-trigger shots from well beyond the 3-point arc, nailing his second and third 3s of a personal 12-1 run that busted the game open at 91-72.

If there were a negative for the Warriors, it occurred with 9:36 remaining in the final period when the Nuggets' Corey Brewer accidentally scratched Curry in the right eye while going for a rebound.

Curry had to go to the bench for a while, and he played only briefly after that. However, thanks to his third-quarter extravaganza, he didn't have to be on the court in the final minutes.

Curry had entered the game having become just the fourth player in NBA history to record as many as 78 points and 33 rebounds in the first three games of a playoff series, joining Oscar Robertson (1962), Kevin Johnson (1989) and Chris Paul (2008) in the distinction.

Jack, hitting eight of his nine shots, backed Curry with 21 points and nine assists. Golden State's Carl Landry added 17 points, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green scored 13 apiece, and Andrew Bogut had 12 for the Warriors, who shot 55.7 percent for the game.

Lawson, who had only six points in the first half, led Denver with 26 points. He added six assists but turned the ball over five times. Andre Iguodala had 19 points, Brewer 14 and Andre Miller 12 for the Nuggets, who shot 46.5 percent.

NOTES: Warriors coach Mark Jackson's wife Desiree sang the national anthem before the game. ... Earlier in the evening, Mark Jackson insisted the referees missed a call in Game 3 just before Andre Iguodala's 50-foot, potential game-winning shot at the buzzer that caromed off the rim. "I was right there. I watched the basketball go out of bounds," he said of Iguodala's last dribble before the heave. "It would have been disappointing if he makes that shot and we lose it when the ball was clearly out of bounds." Jackson said he didn't think the play could have been reviewed. ... For the third consecutive game, the Warriors intentionally submitted an incorrect starting lineup before the game, announcing Carl Landry would start instead of Jarrett Jack. Asked why he was doing it, Jackson said with a smirk, "It has worked. So there's my reason. Undefeated." ... Nuggets coach George Karl also had a light moment with the media before the game when asked about the impact of the deafening noise produced by the Oracle Arena sellout crowd in Game 3. "It's a great crowd here, there's no question. It's a top-five building," he said. "I want to call Phil Jackson and ask to borrow some earplugs."
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