DENVER -- Warriors coach Mark Jackson said it doesn't matter to his players when people count them out. But it seems his team thrives in such situations.

Without All-Star forward David Lee, on the road against the best home team in the league, playing the Denver Nuggets' preferred style, Golden State did what few thought it could do: win. And comfortably.

With Tuesday's 131-117 victory, the Warriors tied the series at 1-1, handing Denver its first home loss since Jan. 18.

The Warriors now have home-court advantage heading home to Oracle Arena and their boisterous fans for Games 3 and 4 on Friday and Sunday.

"We can't wait to see them," Warriors point guard Jarrett Jack said. "I've heard so much about how crazy our playoff atmosphere was the last time they were in the playoffs. I'm looking forward for them to top that."

In Game 1, the Warriors looked to slow the pace and keep the Nuggets from getting out in transition. But without Lee, they went with a small lineup and beat Denver at its own game.

The Warriors set a franchise playoff record with 64.6 percent shooting.

Stephen Curry found his rhythm and put together one of his best games this season on the biggest stage. He played 42 minutes, totaling 30 points, 13 assists, five rebounds and three steals with just one turnover.


Advertisement

"He made shots," Jackson said of Curry. "It's a make or miss league. I thought our bigs did a good job of setting screens and creating opportunities for him, and he was aggressive."

And he wasn't alone. The faster pace and the wide-open floor played into the hands of the Warriors scorers. Rookie forward Harrison Barnes finished with 24 points on 14 shots. Jack, who was outplayed by Nuggets backup guard Andre Miller in Game 1, exacted revenge with 26 points and seven assists. Guard Klay Thompson scored 21 points, making five 3-pointers.

"One thing we really preach is defend, get the rebound and get out and run," rookie forward Draymond Green said. "It doesn't surprise me. I knew we could run with them."

Even with the small lineup, the Warriors controlled the boards (36-26), limiting the Nuggets to six offensive rebounds and nine second-chance points. No Warrior had more than eight rebounds, but seven players had at least three. Denver center Kenneth Faried, who missed Game 1 because of a sprained ankle, proved to be a nonfactor.

For the second consecutive game, the Warriors went into halftime with a lead. This time, however, it seemed far more improbable.

With Lee sidelined by a torn right hip flexor, Jackson threw a curveball and started Jack. The decision to go small paid off as the Warriors torched the Nuggets defense.

The Warriors shot 61 percent in the first half to take a 61-53 lead into the locker room. They increased that lead almost immediately to start the third quarter.

Curry started with a pull-up jumper. After Andrew Bogut came up with a steal, Curry found Thompson with a cross-court pass in transition. He connected on a 3-pointer to put Golden State up 66-53 just 35 seconds into the second half.

Moments later, after Barnes' 3-pointer, Jack converted a driving layup to cap a 10-1 Warriors run. Golden State led 71-54 with 10:27 left in the third quarter.

The Nuggets went on multiple rallies the rest of the way to trim the Warriors' lead. But Denver could not stop the Warriors from answering.

The Nuggets cut their deficit to 76-69 with 4:57 left in the third, but Curry and Thompson made back-to-back 3-pointers to push the lead back to 13.

When Curry checked out of the game with 2:26 left in the third after spraining his left ankle, the Warriors responded by closing the quarter with a run.

Thompson made a 3-pointer with 59 seconds left. Barnes then sent the Warriors into the fourth quarter up 96-80 with a jumper and a dunk.

Curry checked back in for the start of the fourth quarter. His 3-pointer at the 11:02 mark put the Warriors up 99-85 and eased the worries of their fans.

The Warriors' lead was down to 105-97 with 8:28 left. They responded with a 10-3 run, capped by rookie Festus Ezeli's second dunk to go up 115-110. The Nuggets never got closer than 10 the rest of the way.

More coverage
Inside
Mark Jackson makes a last-minute switch, starting Jarrett Jack. PAGE 8

Online extra
For Tim Kawakami's take on the game, go to WWW.mercurynews.com/tim-kawakami
Read Marcus Thompson's "Inside the Warriors" blog www.ibabuzz.com/warriors