OAKLAND, Calif. – The Denver Nuggets won at least three straight games eight times during a record-setting regular season.
They will need to put together one more winning streak to extend their postseason.
After making a second-half surge, the Nuggets witnessed a one-for-the-ages performance by Stephen Curry on Sunday night at Oracle Arena, leaving themselves no margin for error in their first-round playoff series against the Golden State Warriors.
Curry made six 3-pointers and scored 22 of his 31 points in the third quarter as the Warriors beat the Nuggets 115-101 to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 series.
Game 5 is Tuesday at Pepsi Center in Denver.
“It’s kind of ride-or-die time,” Nuggets guard/forward Andre Iguodala said. “We’ll see what kind of basketball players we’re made of when our backs are against the wall.”
Eight teams in NBA history have rallied to win a playoff series after trailing 3-1. Six of those teams started the comeback by playing Game 5 on their home court, which will be the case for the Nuggets.
“We’re going to try to take care of home court and come right back here on Thursday,” Denver point guard Ty Lawson said. “Got to take care of home court and get one here (in Oakland). That’s all it takes.”
Lawson, who scored a career playoff-high 35 points in Game 3, nearly brought the Nuggets back from a 15-point third-quarter deficit.
Beating defenders off the dribble and from the perimeter, he scored 15 of his 26 points in the first 6 minutes of the third quarter to help Denver close within four.
Curry, however, owned the final 6:22 of the third, scoring 22 points in that span, including the final 12 to give Golden State a 91-72 lead heading to the fourth.
“He’s hitting tough shots a couple feet behind the 3-point line,” Lawson said. “He’s hot right now. We’ve got to figure out a way to stop him.
“You have to try anything. They started going one-on-one in the third quarter. There weren’t any picks or anything. We just have to man-up and defend.”
The Nuggets also have to do a better job taking care of the ball. They committed 14 turnovers in the first half and 23 in the game, leading to 33 points for Golden State.
Curry literally had a hand in the Denver miscues, finishing with four steals, including one that led to a pull-up 3 during a 9-0 run late in the third quarter. The Nuggets never got closer than 13 the rest of the way.
“The next 48 hours, it’s going to be difficult, to say the least,” Nuggets coach George Karl said. “They found some magic, and we’ve got to somehow take it away from them.”
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