DENVER - Kenneth Faried put his foot down 48 hours after putting his size-16 sneaker through the wall in the visiting locker room in Oakland, sparking a debate about dirty play.
The fiery forward energized the Denver Nuggets, who rediscovered their toughness in time to stave off elimination Tuesday night with a 107-100 win over the Golden State Warriors.
The Nuggets never trailed, piled up points in the paint, slowed down the Warriors' guards, jumpstarted their transition game and got under Andew Bogut's skin.
They jumped out to a 22-point lead before weathering the Warriors' frenetic fourth quarter rally to cut their series deficit to 3-2 and force a Game 6 Thursday night at Oracle Arena.
Warriors coach Mark Jackson accused the Nuggets of trying to hurt Stephen Curry, his banged-up sharpshooter who was just 1 for 7 from long-range and finished with a series-low 15 points.
"Some dirty plays early," Jackson said. "It's playoff basketball, that's all right. We own it. But make no mistake about it, we went up 3-1 playing hard, physical, clean basketball - not trying to hurt anybody."
Jackson mentioned Faried setting some "great screens and some great illegal ones, too."
"He did his job. Hey, I played with guys like that. They get paid to do that. Dale Davis, Anthony Davis, Charles Oakley. You get paid to do it. So give them credit," Jackson said. "As an opposing coach, I see it, and I'm trying to protect my guys."
"It's basketball," countered Faried. "I try to do the little things my team needs me to do. It's physical. If you can't stand the physicality, you shouldn't be playing."
Asked about accusations he tried to hurt Curry, Faried said: "That's intriguing because I think they were purposefully trying to hurt me every play I went for a rebound - the hits, the grab to the throat."
The Nuggets said they were surprised the Warriors were the ones complaining about physical play.
"I think I've taken the hardest hit in the series, Game 1 or 2, when Bogut leaned in to me on a screen. And I didn't remember what happened the rest of the game," former Wildcat Andre Iguodala said. "I think they kind of brought the physicality to the series. And we stopped being the receivers and we're starting to hit back a little bit."
Faried said he's been beat up all series long.
"I'm surprised tonight I didn't get my hair pulled like before," Faried said. "It's all good. If we're playing dirty, hey, it's basketball. We're just playing physical."
Iguodala had 25 points and 12 rebounds, Ty Lawson had 19 points and 10 assists and Faried had 13 points and 10 boards. Harrison Barnes led Golden State with 23 points and nine rebounds.
• Celtics at Knicks: 4 p.m. on TNT, Knicks lead series 3-1
• Hawks at Pacers: 5 p.m. on NBATV, series tied 2-2
• Rockets at Thunder: 6:30 p.m. on TNT, Thunder leads series 3-1