Mark Jackson, left, and Stephen Curry
were unhappy with physical play in Game 5. (Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images)
Mark Jackson didn't mince words after his Warriors fell to the Nuggets 107-100 on Tuesday night, accusing Denver of intentionally targeting guard Stephen Curry with rough play and insinuating that members of the Nuggets organization approached him to distance themselves from the physicality.
"They were the aggressor, they hurt us in the first half, scoring the basketball, points in the paint, they made us pay for our turnovers, they tried to send hit men on Steph," Jackson said. "But give them credit, it wasn't cocky basketball, they outplayed us. It wasn't magic, they outplayed us."
He was just getting started.
"There were some dirty plays early," Jackson continued. "It's playoff basketball, that's alright. We own it. Make no mistake about it, we went up 3-1 playing hard, physical, clean basketball, not trying to hurt anybody."
Curry, who was averaging 27.3 points and 10 assists per game against the Nuggets entering Game 5, has suffered a sprained left ankle and an ugly poke to the eye during the series.
Asked specifically what bothered him, Jackson pointed to a screen set on Curry, which he felt was delivered with intent to injure.
"The screen on Curry by the foul line is a shot at his ankle, clearly," he said. "That can't be debated. I've got inside information that some people don't like that brand of basketball and they clearly didn't co-sign it, so they wanted to let me know they had no parts in what was taking place. Let the best team win. With the exception of someone going down with a freak injury, let everyone leave out of here healthy. That's not good basketball. "
A total of two flagrant fouls and two technical fouls were assessed during Game 5. Warriors center Andrew Bogut and forward Draymond Green received the flagrant fouls; Curry and Nuggets big man Kosta Koufos received the technical fouls.
Curry finished with 15 points (seven-for-19 shooting), eight assists and four rebounds and did not attempt a free throw in 42 minutes. Frustrated as he left the court, Curry pointed at and exchanged words with a Nuggets fan near the tunnel to the locker room. He told reporters afterwards that he felt targeted.
"Look at the film there's three or four plays in the first four minutes," he said. "I'll use the word 'physical.' They called a couple of them and missed a couple of them. I've got to expect that and not let it phase me. I don't think it did. ... There was a couple [that were cheap]. I'm going through the paint minding mind my own business and they're coming out of nowhere trying to throw elbows. They've got a hit out on me, I don't know what it is."
Finally, Jackson stated that Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried was guilty of setting "illegal" screens.
"He played well, Jackson said. "He did what he does, high energy, impacted the game. They did a good job. He set some great screens and some great illegal ones too. He did his job. I played with guys like that, get paid to do that. Dale Davis, Anthony Davis
, Charles Oakley. They get paid to do it, give them credit. As an opposing coach, I see it. I'm trying to protect my guys."