Nuggets hold off Warriors; Grizzlies beat Clippers
Nuggets hold off Warriors; Grizzlies beat Clippers
Andre Iguodala scored 25 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as Denver downed Golden State 107-100, but Warriors coach Mark Jackson accused the Nuggets of deliberately trying to injure Warriors star Stephen Curry to raise tensions.
“They tried to send hitmen on Steph,” Jackson said. “There were some dirty plays early.
The Nuggets pulled within 3-2 of the Warriors in the best-of-seven playoff series, which continues Thursday at Golden State. The series winner will face West top seed San Antonio in the second round of the playoffs.
“Tonight was a good fight for us,” Iguodala said. “We’ve got to go back there and figure some things out.”
In Tuesday’s other Western Conference game, Zach Randolph scored 25 points and added 11 rebounds while Spaniard Marc Gasol had 21 points as the Grizzlies beat the Los Angeles Clippers 103-93 to take a 3-2 lead in their series.
Clippers playmaker Blake Griffin left the game in the third quarter with a high right ankle sprain, leaving his status in doubt for game six Friday at Memphis.
“We can’t celebrate,” Randolph said. “We can’t get too happy. We’re not done. We have to go home Friday and be ready and be real focused.”
At Denver, Wilson Chandler and Ty Lawson added 19 points each for the Nuggets, who had six double-digit scorers, while Harrison Barnes led the Warriors with 23 points, Jarrett Jack added 20 and Klay Thompson netted 19.
“They were the more physical team. They were the aggressor,” Jackson said. “They hurt us in the first half. They scored in the paint. They made us pay for our turnovers. It wasn’t magic. They outplayed us.”
Curry scored only 15 points on 7-of-19 shooting. Jackson said a screen set at the free throw line in the first half was a bid to hurt Curry’s ankle.
Jackson also hinted that someone in the Nuggets’ camp was telling him there was an intent to injure.
“I’ve got inside information,” Jackson said. “Some people don’t like that kind of basketball.
“We went up 3-1 (in the series) playing hard, physical, clean basketball — not trying to hurt anybody.” Iguodala said he felt he took the hardest hit in the series earlier when Australian center Andrew Bogut ran into him and added that the Warriors started the bumping in the series.
“They kind of brought the physicality to the series and we stopped being the receivers and started bringing some of that back,” Iguodala said. “But as for the cheap shots, I don’t condone that. That’s not in my game.” Asked about the fouls, Golden State’s Jack said only, “It felt like good defense. We’re a battle-tested bunch. Nothing can get us out of our rhythm.”
The Nuggets led by as much as 22 points in the second quarter on the way to a 66-46 half-time lead. The Warriors unleashed a 14-2 run in the third quarter but Denver answered with a 12-4 run to lead 86-69 entering the fourth quarter.
Undaunted, Golden State responded in the final period with an 18-4 spurt that pulled the Warriors within 96-91 before Kenneth Faried’s slam dunk ended a drought of 4:20 without a basket from the field for the Nuggets.
Twice more the Warriors pulled within five points only to have Chandler connect on a 3-pointer from the right corner to give Denver a 103-95 lead.
After a Golden State free throw, Iguodala added a slam dunk and Denver held off the Warriors over the final seconds.
“We knew we were going to take a hit,” Iguodala said. “We had to respond once they made their run. Tonight was a better defensive effort. To get to the next level our defensive mindset had to get better. It was there tonight.”
At Los Angeles, Clippers star Chris Paul matched a career playoff high 35 points in a losing cause.
Memphis closed the second quarter with a 16-5 run for a 54-48 half-time edge.
An 11-0 Memphis run early in the third quarter produced the Grizzlies’ biggest lead of the game at 65-52 lead before the Clippers pulled within 73-65 entering the fourth quarter.
The Clippers pulled within 91-86 late but Tayshaun Prince answered with a 3-pointer for Memphis and Los Angeles never came within six points again.
Randolph scored 10 points in the fourth quarter while Gasol added eight.
World Cup boost for Egypt as Mohamed Salah "is ready to play against Russia"
- Liverpool star took part in full training
- Egypt team manager says Salah is poised to make his World Cup bow
ST PETERSBURG: Mohamed Salah is a looming obstacle as Russia attempt to virtually secure their place in the knockout stages of the World Cup in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday.
Fears that poor performances from the home side could dampen enthusiasm in the host nation were blown away by a 5-0 demolition of Saudi Arabia in the opening game.
The seven-time African champions will pose a much tougher task, but a lot will depend upon Salah's fitness.
Liverpool star Salah has not featured since leaving the field in tears early in the Champions League final just over three weeks ago after landing heavily on his left shoulder and had to watch from the bench as Egypt lost 1-0 to Uruguay in their opening game.
Salah has been declared 100 percent fit by Egypt's team doctor and his agent, leaving little doubt he will be thrown back into action in the Pharaohs' hour of need.
However, as he returned to training on Saturday, Salah was seen by AFP reporters at Egypt's training camp in Grozny needing help from teammates to lift a training top over his head.
"Salah participated in training with his teammates for the entire session and he is ready to play against Russia according to technical staff," Egypt's team manager Ihab Leheta told FIFA.com.
Egypt coach Hector Cuper's decision not to risk Salah against Uruguay may have been influenced by the fact his side held out for 89 minutes before conceding to Jose Gimenez, by which time the Argentine had made all three of his substitutions.
"Russia's game is fateful and difficult because of our defeat against Uruguay," said Leheta. "Winning is our only choice".
If fully fit, the sight of Salah, who scored 44 goals in a remarkable debut season at Liverpool, will strike fear into the Russians.
Concerns Russia could become just the second host nation to bow out of the World Cup at the group stage after a seven-game winless run ahead of the tournament have been alleviated by a perfect start.
With Uruguay favourites to top the group, though, Russia are keen not to have to rely on getting something from their final group game against the two-time former world champions.
"The second game will be our most important one in the group stage," said Russia's deputy prime minister and former football federation president Vitaly Mutko after attending Russia's training session on Sunday.
A close ally of President Vladimir Putin, Mutko oversaw preparations for the tournament at a cost of more than $13 billion.
"In the first match, everyone saw how much the players cared. If we play up to our level, I don't see any problems."
Denis Cheryshev was Russia's hero against Saudi Arabia as he came off the bench to score twice.
And the Villarreal winger accepted it will be a more "interesting" clash if Salah is fit.
"If he's not there, does that mean our task becomes easy? Not at all," he told FIFA.com "If he plays, it will be hard but more interesting. He's one of the best and you always want to compete with the best and win."
Russia will be without one of their key players, with Alan Dzagoev expected to miss the rest of the tournament with a hamstring injury.