In a three-game stretch, Stephen Curry averaged 30.0 points per game and shot 57.1 percent from beyond the arc and 55.4 percent from the floor. He was unstoppable, popping open for shots and draining long-distance 3-pointers like they were simple jumpers. When he was not doing that, he was able to get to the lane with ease.
That probably rubbed Denver's defense the wrong way and the team made sure Curry knew things would be different in a must-win Game Five.
Curry scored only 15 points, making 7 of his 19 shots and just one of his seven 3-pointers. On the very first play, JaVale McGee set a moving screen on Curry. Later in the game, Kenneth Faried appeared to trip Curry as he came across a screen. Kosta Koufos even went up to block a shot Curry took well after a foul was called.
It was clear the goal was to bump and bruise Curry out of rhythm. And it clearly worked.
Mark Jackson was not so happy about it and made his feelings known in his postgame press conference:
The key phrase from Warriors coach Mark Jackson: "They tried to send hit men on Steph (Curry), but give them credit. It wasn't cocky basketball. It wasn't magic. They outplayed us."
Is this gamesmanship heading into Game Six? It certainly seemed like Denver took the reigns and played the aggressor in Game Five after Golden State dominated the pervious three games physically. Jackson acknowledged that. But he definitely put the thought in referee's minds for Game Six. It will be interesting to watch how Curry is played and how he adjusts in the next game.
Curry definitely seemed to feel the pressure and forced many of his shots in an attempt to recapture the magic he displayed at Oracle Arena during the weekend. He will need to adjust to avoid the bumps and bruises the Nuggets are sure to give him again.
There may not be a "hit" on Curry, but there is definitely some type of physical toll the Nuggets want Curry to pay.