DENVER -- Warriors center Andrew Bogut had been such a force the first four games. So it was a head-scratcher to watch him check out at the 6:21 mark of the third quarter, never to return.
"The lineup that was in was doing well," Bogut said after Golden State's 107-100 Game 5 loss to the Nuggets on Tuesday. "And I didn't bring much in the first half."
Bogut finished with two points, five rebounds and two blocks in 18 minutes. He wasn't the domineering presence he had been. The Nuggets went big on Tuesday and their centers outplayed Bogut.
Denver started JaVale McGee. McGee logged 20 minutes and usual starter Kosta Koufos played 15 minutes, and they even played together for stretches.
The Warriors kept with the small lineup, starting guard Jarrett Jack and moving rookie forward Harrison Barnes to David Lee's old spot. But it didn't work as well.
Denver had size advantages in three spots on the floor: Kenneth Faried over Barnes, Wilson Chandler over Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala over Stephen Curry. And Bogut didn't dominate his matchup.
In the first half, Denver racked up 34 points in the paint (more than half of its 66). It outrebounded the Warriors 29-17, including 11 offensive rebounds that led to 15 second-chance points the first two quarters.
Faried, McGee and Koufos totaled 19 points and 18 rebounds in the first half.
In the second half, after playing Bogut the first 5:39 of the third quarter, coach Mark Jackson went all in with the small lineup. He went stretches with veteran power forward Carl Landry or rookie small forward Draymond Green functioning as the center.
Down the stretch, after the super-small lineup was dominated inside Jackson turned to rookie center Festus Ezeli and not Bogut. Ezeli had five points, three rebounds and a block the last 8:30 of the fourth quarter. He also had three turnovers, which perhaps might not have been committed by the veteran Bogut.
"We lost the game because they scored in the paint," Jackson said. "No matter who is on the floor, if we play our brand of basketball, we will be fine. We just put together a run with small guys on the floor so it has nothing to do with size. We have to stay true to who we are."
It stands to reason the Warriors will need Bogut back come Game 6. Tuesday's game proved to be a physical affair with both teams alleging the other took cheap shots.
"That's playoff basketball," Bogut said. "It's going to get even worse from here on out. It's going to get more physical. We're looking forward to the challenge at home."
But he said none of that was the reason he managed just 15 points on 7 of 19 shooting.
"No. No," he said when asked if his injuries effected his performance.
Jackson said before the game Curry had no limitations and he felt fine. Curry said he "felt good" and began clapping when asked how he was feeling.
He played 41 minutes, 52 seconds on Tuesday, mostly against bigger players bent on playing him physically.