A day after Denver used a physical brand of basketball to stave off elimination on its home court, Warriors coach Mark Jackson was still fuming at what he termed "dirty play" from the Nuggets in Game 5.
Specifically, Jackson was unhappy with a play early in the first quarter in which he perceived Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried to take stab at Stephen Curry's ankle.
"You can hit (Curry). I was even caught on tape asked, 'What would happen if I played against him and he heated up?' I'd be physical with him," Jackson said. "So that's understandable, it's not hypocritical. There's no part of me that said I'd be dirty with him.
"If you take an attempt to kick him with your foot on his foot, that's not a basketball play, that's a dirty play."
Faried, who Wednesday was named the NBA's Citizen of the Year for his work in the community, denied he was targeting Curry's ankle.
“I thought they were mad about the shoulder, honestly. I wasn’t going for his ankle at all," said Faried, according to the Denver Post. "I wasn’t trying to. I wasn’t even thinking about his ankle, honestly. I forgot it was injured."
Curry finished 7-of-19 from the field and scored 15 points despite not taking a trip to the free-throw line. His absence from the line also puzzled Jackson.
"He's on the court for 42 minutes against a team whose game plan is to be physical with him and he does not get to the foul line?" Jackson said. "Unheard of."
For all the rhetoric on both sides, Curry did his best to avoid getting into a war of words. Playing in his first NBA playoffs, Curry is genuinely enjoying the experience -- even the trash talk.
Curry was called soft throughout the game from a Nuggets player or players, but wouldn't "snitch on who's talking, who's not."
"I'm not going to escalate that more than it is," Curry said. "Guys will try to get under your skin however they can -- I chirp back, it's fun."
As for being called soft, well, that's nothing new for him.
"Since high school. What does that mean?" Curry said. "I'm out there playing well all season, it doesn't matter what people call you or what they think of you."
As for how he can shed the label?
"I have no idea. I can't smile. I can't laugh or joke," Curry said. "I weigh 185 pounds, so I guess when I get hit by a 235-pound guy my natural body reaction will make me look soft.
"I got to call Dirk Nowitzki. He went through that," Curry said. "I remember that whole championship run, everybody said he was soft and everyone called him soft. Then he won a championship and that went away."
Curry defends postgame interaction with fan
Following the Warriors loss, television cameras caught Curry in a verbal altercation with a fan on his way to the tunnel. The incident, Curry said, was sparked by comments from the fan that "crossed the line."
"Minding my own business walking to the tunnel and the fan said something stupid about my family and attacked me personally," Curry said. "There was security right there, I was just trying to let him know what was going on. I told the fan to watch what he was saying."
Bogut fine physically
Andrew Bogut's absence from the fourth quarter had nothing to do with his health, both Bogut and Jackson confirmed Wednesday.
Bogut said he's fine and was not surprised when he sat the entire fourth quarter because the team was playing well using a lineup featuring rookie Festus Ezeli.
"Ezeli was playing well," Jackson said. "Bogut's our starting center and he's played a huge part in this series and he will continue to. We just put a run together."
After tying his season-high for a game with 12 points in the first half of the Warriors' 115-101 win in Game 4, Bogut went scoreless over the next four quarters before a bucket in the third quarter on Tuesday. He exited at the 6:20 mark of the third and did not return.