Nuggets and Warriors go down to the wire

Ezra Shaw

Breaking down the final plays of the Warriors' Game 3 victory over the Nuggets.

A number of things were working against the Denver Nuggets toward the end of Game 3 of their playoff series against the Golden State Warriors on Friday.

Denver shot 35 percent from the floor in the second half after opening up a 13-point lead early in the third quarter, suffered from awful play by Andre Iguodala and Andre Miller down the stretch and, to top it all off, had lost 10 of its last 11 road playoff games. And yet, the Nuggets were in great position to pull out a victory in the final seconds at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif.

For more on this game, head over to Denver Stiffs and Golden State of Mind.

After Wilson Chandler buried a corner three to pull his team to within a point, the Nuggets benefited from a five-second call enforced on Jarrett Jack on the ensuing inbound play, giving Denver the ball back with less than 10 seconds remaining. The Nuggets had a plan: Give the ball to Ty Lawson.

Lawson led all scorers with 35 points and made several late hustle plays to get in the way of an otherwise unstoppable Warriors offense. The Nuggets' speedy point guard tried to get around the edge against Festus Ezeli, a good move considering driving into the paint had worked for him all night. Lawson was 7-of-9 on attempts from inside the key and got to the free throw line 12 times. However, instead of making another layup or drawing another foul, Lawson lost control of the ball and gave it back to the Warriors -- the fourth time he had done so in the game and the 18th time the team turned the ball over.

Still, the game wasn't over. Harrison Barnes was only able to sink one of two free throw attempts, leaving time and opportunity for the Nuggets to tie or win the game. Iguodala, who made just 1-of-8 second-half shot attempts and often wasn't even close, barely missed a last-second heave, finally sealing the deal for the Warriors.

It was a fitting end to a game that featured a plethora of highlight-reel plays as a result of a the fast-paced environment the teams perfected in Game 2, which saw the two teams combine for 248 points.

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Game 4 of the series will take place on Sunday at 9:30 p.m. ET on TNT.

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