Ninety minutes before his team took the court for Game 2 against the Nuggets, Warriors head coach Mark Jackson wanted to clarify some things.

"I didn't say that they were better, and I didn't say George (Karl) was a better coach," Jackson said. "I said 'I'd give (them) the check mark if I was sitting on the other side (as a broadcaster).' Now, what was the question?"

The Warriors didn't need a news conference to answer the rest of the questions about being the underdogs in the best-of-seven, first-round series, generally trouncing the Nuggets 131-117 at a place where Denver had lost only three games all season.

The teams head to the Bay Area for Friday's Game 3 tied 1-1.

The odds had gotten even steeper for the Warriors, who were supposed to have gone from having little chance to no chance in the series when All-Star power forward David Lee was lost for the postseason with a torn right hip flexor Saturday.

But as they've done through most of the tough times this season, the Warriors were resolute. They shot an unworldly 64.6 percent from the floor, beat the league's best rebounding team on the boards (36-26) and slowed the NBA's best fastbreaking offense to eight transition points.

"We've had no expectations on us from the start," point guard Stephen Curry said. "Nobody picked us to make the playoffs. Nobody picked us in this series. I'm sure it was even easier to not take us when D-Lee went down. We understand that we don't have many expectations outside of our locker room, but we're a confident group, a resilient team. There's no reason why that would change now."

In fact, the Warriors seem to be at their stoutest when things look bleakest. Curry had 30 points, including 4-of-10 three-point shooting, to go with 13 assists, three steals and only one turnover, and the rest of the team pulled together to make up for the loss of Lee.

The Warriors had gone 3-18 without Lee in the lineup since he came to Golden State before the 2010-11 season. But they have stronger players waiting for chances now, and each one played a role against Denver.

Playing power forward for the first time, Harrison Barnes contributed 24 points and six rebounds, and, starting alongside Curry for the first time, Jarrett Jack had 26 points and seven assists. Klay Thompson added 21 points, including 5-of-6 three-point shooting, Andrew Bogut manned the middle with six points, eight rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot, and the bench scored 24 points.