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Nuggets fight off Warriors to force Game 5

Denver fended off a series sweep by Golden State with a 126-121 victory at Ball Arena on Sunday.

DENVER — In a do-or-die situation, the Nuggets went with Option A.

Denver came into Sunday's Game 3 matchup facing a 3-0 deficit to the Golden State Warriors. With the possibility of being swept on their home floor, the Nuggets rose to the occasion and ground out a 126-121 victory to extend their stay in the NBA playoffs.

"I did not want to get swept. There's something about getting swept that just eats at you at your core," head coach Michael Malone said. "I'm thrilled that we're still alive. We're not satisfied but we can regroup and head out to San Francisco and try to find a way."

Denver once again leaned on reigning MVP Nikola Jokic in Sunday's victory. The Joker scored a game-high 37 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out six assists.

>>Video above: Nuggets host Warriors as series shifts to Denver

Credit: AP
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, left, looks to pass the ball as Golden State Warriors center Kevon Looney, center, and forward Draymond Green defend in the second half of Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round Western Conference playoff series Sunday, April 24, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The Nuggets also received 24 points from Monte Morris, who nailed five 3-point shots -- all in the third quarter. Aaron Gordon chipped in 21 points and rookie Bones Hyland was a spark with three consecutive triples the fired up the Ball Arena crowd, finishing with 15 points.

"Wherever I'm at on the floor, if I feel any little space I'm letting it fly," Hyland said of his hot 3-point shooting. "I watched the first one go in, and that's all I need to keep getting them up."

Veteran Steph Curry led the Warriors with a team-high 33 points, despite having an uncharacteristic performance. Curry missed 13 of his field goal attempts (eight from 3-point range) and four from the free-throw line.

Denver forces a Game 5 to extend the opening-round playoff series, which shifts back to Golden State on Wednesday.

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Credit: AP
Denver Nuggets center DeMarcus Cousins, front, reacts after making a basket as forward JaMychal Green celebrates in the second half of Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round Western Conference playoff series against the Golden State Warriors, Sunday, April 24, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

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