Stephen Curry was not himself throughout much of the first half of a crucial Game 4 between the Golden State Warriors and Denver Nuggets, looking noticeably hobbled by a sprained left ankle. But Curry caught fire in the third quarter, scoring 22 of his game-high 31 points to lead the Warriors to a 115-101 victory and a 3-1 series lead.
Curry took just three shots in the first half, although he did have five assists and three steals. He made several earlier than usual trips to the bench, leading some to believe there was something seriously wrong with the ankle. However, Curry would not let the injury bother him, and his third quarter shooting display helped blow open what was a close game. The only thing that would slow Curry in the second half was a shot to the eye that forced him to the bench for a few minutes, but he would return as the Warriors cruised to victory.
Curry finished the game shooting 10-of-16 overall and 6-of-11 from three to go along with seven assists and four steals. Jarrett Jack had 21 points and nine assists, while Carl Landry added 17 points off the bench. Andrew Bogut set a playoff career-high with 12 points, with all of those coming in the first half. The Warriors shot 55.7 percent for the game, made 11-of-26 from deep and had 48 points in the paint.
Ty Lawson led the Nuggets with 26 points on 11-of-20 shooting. Andre Iguodala had 19 points and Corey Brewer added 14 points in the loss. Denver really struggled to take care of the ball, racking up 23 turnovers, with those miscues leading to 33 Warriors points. The Nuggets are now in big trouble heading back to Denver for a must-win Game 5.
The game started as a back and forth affair, with the two teams needing a few minutes to find a rhythm. Bogut enjoyed some early success despite two fouls, making hay down low with eight quick points and several thunderous dunks. Landry came off the bench and immediately made his impact known, knocking down a couple of jumpers and scoring six points in the first quarter.
After the numerous lead changes to start, the Warriors led for much of the latter half of the first quarter. Golden State did have some early turnover woes, but 55.6 percent shooting and solid defense helped them grab a 25-21 lead after one. Iguodala was the only Nugget to get much going offensively, scoring six points in the quarter.
The Warriors opened up an eight-point lead early in the second quarter before the Nuggets went on a little spurt to get back to within one. Golden State answered right back, with Bogut making big play after big play, including a nifty behind-the-back pass to Jack for a three. After a turnover on the other end, Jack finished in transition to move the lead back up to eight.
The Nuggets went on a 7-0 run thanks to a little spurt by Andre Miller, but the Warriors answered with an 11-0 run to close the half. Curry finally made his first bucket of the half with 2:06 left, and Golden State made Denver pay for some carelessness with the ball. The Nuggets turned it over nine times in the second quarter and 14 times in the half, leading to 19 Warriors points as Golden State took a 56-44 lead into the break.
Thompson pushed the Warriors' lead up to 15 with a three-pointer to open the second half, but Lawson went on a personal 7-0 run to stop the bleeding. Lawson was a man on a mission in the third quarter, scoring 15 points and single-handedly keeping the Nuggets in the game. Some sloppy play by Golden State also contributed to Denver getting back into it, with seven turnovers leading to nine Nuggets points. But Curry outdid Lawson and made those turnover problems moot.
Game 5 is in Denver on Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET.