No sweeps for the Nuggets! Mike Malone’s men avoided direct elimination by narrowly winning against the Californians, against whom they had to fight a great battle. They will thus try to further reduce their delay in a few days, during Race 5 in San Francisco.
Just a minute of play and already a tough exchange between Aaron Gordon and Draymond Green, after a foul by the latter on Nikola Jokic’s face. Double technical fault for the first two cities. As you will have understood, this fourth round did not take long to feel the dust. The Nuggets, who in any case suffered the address of Klay Thompson (quickly embarrassed by the mistakes) in the first moments, have significantly raised the level of intensity on the physical level to defend strongly (31% of the Warriors, their worst quarter time of the series). Well helped by the embarrassment of the “6th man” in front, Stephen Curry, the locals relied on the attack of a Nikola Jokic still unsustainable in the racket, but also on the three points in the “trailer”.
Taking the lead slightly after twelve minutes (26-21), the Colorado players were counting on a much more efficient bench than the visitors. In addition to an active DeMarcus Cousins in racquet (still sanctioned with a questionable technical error …), the crazy dribbler Bones Hyland has signed a small festival with three consecutive award-winning baskets to offer the biggest advantage of the match to his team (40 – 23). The Nuggets have suffered the most with the return of most of the owners. Without panicking, Golden State found serenity in the attack with Andrew Wiggins. Being the shooters of the little Warriors at the party, Jonathan Kuminga was also able to talk about the athletic qualities of him to contribute to the return of the Californians. However, the latter finished more than 10 points (63-52) from Nikola Jokic (22 points), his very active lieutenant, Aaron Gordon, and the Nuggets at the interval.
The Splash brothers and Monte Morris warm up
Klay Thompson started the second period of shooting at three points and in half, but the answer was a man, so far discreet: Monte Morris. The point guard made five for three in the third period without ever missing the target. A crazy address that will allow Denver to keep the lead despite the good sequences of Draymond Green, at ease in the “coast to coast” or to serve Stephen Curry on the “backdoor”. With his 7/12 behind the arc in this quarter, Denver remained in the lead but still threatened by the Warriors (98-89).
And in particular the “Splash Brothers” because Stephen Curry, who has been filming until then, has joined his lifelong partner, Klay Thompson, on the way to the speech. With a “3 + 1”, he brought his team to just two possessions (104-98), while DeMarcus Cousins wounded Andre Iguodala on the other side of the field. A small jump from Aaron Gordon to give Denver a ten-point lead? Response in the wake of Klay Thompson’s triple. A few minutes later, despite the release of an excellent Draymond Green for six fouls, the visitors equalized on a new exploit by Stephen Curry (119-119).
The latter returned a long two-point shot quickly cleared by Nikola Jokic, then Monte Morris. With another decisive defensive move from Austin Rivers, Denver found itself with the cards in hand to finish. What Nikola Jokic did to serve the almost ghostly Will Barton in the corner for the “dagger”.
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
– Nikola Jokic’s lieutenants responded. Aaron Gordon, who hindered Jordan Poole a lot in defense, quickly found his feet and got him talking about his athletic qualities by causing a lot of boos. We liked his high post – low post ratio with the Serbian pivot. Behind the handyman of the five of the Nuggets, the MVP in the title found the support of Monte Morris, exceptional address in the third quarter. Some men from the bench also contributed. Think for example of Austin Rivers and his five wiretaps.
– The physical dimension. This match started around 21:30 (French time) and ended later than usual. The fault of a game often cut from the physical dimension established by the actors who, consequently, have committed many faults. These numerous contacts, coupled with some distributed technical fouls or Draymond Green’s permanent acute verb, illustrated a very high intensity and level of commitment in this part.
– Being 3-1 down, the Nuggets know this. Seeing Denver now 3-1 ahead, it’s hard not to remember the 2020 trip to the Orlando “bubble” where the Nuggets had bridged that gap twice, against the Jazz then against the Clippers. The big difference is that they hadn’t lost their first three games in the series. ” The odds are against us, but we’ve done this many times before, so why not? “Nevertheless Nikola Jokic smiled at the end of the match.
TOP / FLOPS
✅ Nikola Jokic. Apart from his seven balls lost, little to take away from the pivot match that shone as much for his physical strength as for his finesse on the finish line. End of the series instead for him, remained in ten races in a row, finished in double double.
✅ The “Splash Brothers”. With his fourth foul immediately at the end of the first period, Klay Thompson could look grim. First weighed down by these concerns about the faults, the rear guard made his external address speak in full in the second half. Clumsy at first, even on the free throw line surprisingly, Stephen Curry imitated him well in the last act. Mike Malone still managed his bet to cut off one of Cerberus’ heads because Jordan Poole, on the other hand, failed at the address level.
⛔ Bench of warriors. If we do not consider Stephen Curry a substitute as such, and if we take away Jonathan Kuminga’s good pass in the first period, which was not repeated in the second, the Warriors bench has brought almost nothing. It is the exact opposite of that of the Nuggets, many of whose representatives ended with a very nice +/- column.
Game 5: in San Francisco, Wednesday, April 27.