OAKLAND -- Jarrett Jack didn't exactly have nightmares about 37-year-old Andre Miller outplaying him so badly in the Denver Nuggets' 97-95 Game 1 playoff win over the Warriors in Game 1.
Miller scored 28 points in 27 minutes in the opening victory Saturday, including the game-winning layup in the final seconds, and many of his points came at the expense of Jack. But with two days to stew and study what went wrong, the Warriors guard turned the tables in Game 2, scoring 26 points with seven assists and generally being a catalyst of Golden State's 131-117 victory Tuesday.
Jack admitted Wednesday that Miller's Game 1 performance got to him.
"Yeah, a little bit," he said. "Coach (Mark Jackson) always preaches that you want to have a little individual pride about your own matchup, and the way me and him are kind of inserted into our teams, it's kind of a mano-a-mano type thing. But you don't make it personal. You don't try to go and do what he did so it'll kind of be a wash. I just wanted to come out and be more aggressive."
That he did. With Denver spreading the floor defensively to try and contain Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, Jack repeatedly penetrated for key buckets inside, as well as making passes to Warriors frontcourt players. It served to discombobulate the Nuggets defense.
Jackson wasn't surprised that his prized sixth man, whom he named as a surprise starter for Game 2 in the absence of David Lee, responded in such a big way after Miller took him to the woodshed in Game 1. "That's who he is, the guy is a gamer," Jackson said. "He has same mind-set and the same makeup as Andre Miller. Both of those guys. Even though he almost had a triple double in Game 1 (10 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds), he knew he didn't play his basketball. Andre Miller clearly outplayed him in Game 1.
"But Jack is a guy, like Andre Miller, they have a chip, they have an edge, and you appreciate guys like that," Jackson continued. "So I knew he was going to bounce back. He really set the tone early. I thought he was very aggressive. He gave us another ballhandler on the floor, another playmaker, and he's another guy who embraces the bright lights."
"Our fans have been off the charts," the coach said. "That being said, I will not and my team will not be tricked into believing that the crowd can score a basket or get a stop, with all due respect. That's not going to win the game. We are dealing with a No. 3 seed that's a heck of a basketball team and extremely well coached. They will be ready, and we have to continue what we've been doing to put us in position to win games."