Published: May 1, 2013
DENVER So, Mark Jackson, what did you think of the Nuggets in Game 5?
'They tried to send hit men on Steph Curry. '
Mama, there goes that man.
Here was the final score from Pepsi Center on Tuesday: Denver 107, Golden State 100.
Here was the score in hissy fits: Golden State 1, Denver 0.
Jackson, the Warriors coach, took offense to the Nuggets' defense.
The Nuggets should take offense to Jackson's hypocrisy.
Wasn't it Andrew Bogut, the Golden State goon, who decked Andre Iguodala with a nasty screen in Game 2? That play shifted momentum in a series the Warriors still lead, 3-2.
On Tuesday, wasn't it the Warriors whistled for not one, but two, flagrant fouls?
'They play dirty every night, ' Kenneth Faried said in response to Jackson's accusations.
This is not basketball science: The Nuggets regained momentum by doing the same thing to the Warriors. Only the Warriors bellyached all the way back to the bay.
'You can take a look at the game, ' Jackson moaned. 'The screen on Curry . was a shot at his ankle, clearly. That can't be debated. '
Hit men? From a former Pacers point guard in the rough-and-tumble Eastern Conference?
Sounds to me like someone's making a plea for favorable officiating in Game 6.
Prior to this series, I asked George Karl if he felt his superstar-less roster gets a fair whistle in a league that favors superstars.
'I don't think any coach believes he gets a fair whistle, ' Karl told me.
Jackson took that belief to another level.
Through four games, Curry, one of the NBA's top-10 players, earned all of the superlatives tossed his direction. After the fifth game, he earned another one: whiner.
Standing in Golden State's locker room, I almost couldn't believe the allegations spewing from his locker. Curry was asked if the Nuggets employed 'cheap shots ' to rattle his cage.
'There were a couple, man, ' Curry said. 'Going through the lane, minding my own business. And they come out of nowhere trying to throw elbows. '
Wait, there's more. This stuff writes itself.
'I understand if I'm going to the basket (and) you want to give a hard foul. We do the same thing, ' he said. 'You don't want anyone to feel comfortable on the court. But there's a time and a place. '
Like Game 2, apparently.
Iguodala said Bogut's screen not only knocked him to the floor at Pepsi Center. It also knocked out his lights, and his memory.
'I think I've taken the hardest hit in this series when Bogut gives me a full-court screen, ' Iguodala said. 'I didn't remember what happened the rest of the game. '
I asked around the media room. No one remembered Iguodala complaining.
'They brought the physicality to this series, ' he said. 'We just stopped being the receivers. '
For Denver to relocate its dignity and bully back into this series, Tuesday night is what needed to happen.
Finally, the Nuggets fought back. The Warriors chipped a nail and cried foul.
Faried played like the Manimal (right before Jackson said Faried's screens are 'illegal, ' as though the dozens of screens to free Curry are entirely within the rule book). The Nuggets were called for 25 personal fouls and got their whistle's worth. Iguodala did Ig-everything (25 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists).
'If I go through the lane, I'm getting hit two, three, four times, ' Ty Lawson said. 'I'm not complaining. I'm not calling them dirty.
'This is the game of basketball. You've got to man up. '
Jackson had a different message: Man down, man down!
'We'll hit you as much as you hit us. We'll pull on you as much as you pull on us, ' Faried said. 'We'll do the things that made us upset. '
One question, guys: Where was that nasty attitude for Games 1-4?
The Nuggets learned at least one thing in Game 5. The Warriors can dish it out, but they can't take it.
The refs again missed more calls than a cell phone on silent. Only this time, the Nuggets weren't the team whining like the schoolyard bully stole their lunch money.
'We just need to match their physicality, ' Bogut told me. 'We're going to do that in Game 6. '
Them's fightin' words.
Will the Nuggets fight back?