Stephen Curry scored 29 points in a brilliant opening quarter and the Golden State Warriors took control of their series with a 112-92 victory over the Denver Nuggets. The two-time defending champions had never lost Game One on their home court before, but that all changed tonight as they fell behind by one point at halftime.
Stephen Curry scored 34 points in 23 minutes as the Golden State Warriors dominated the Denver Nuggets to take control of their series. Read more in detail here: nba.
3.46 a.m. ET
ESPN’s Kendra Andrews
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Before crossing up Monte Morris, Curry, Stephen squared him up. Nikola Jokic stood between Curry and the hoop after the Golden State Warriors star got past Morris. Curry split them again on a spin and finished with a layup as he collapsed to the ground before Jokic or Morris could stop him.
The Denver Nuggets took a timeout, and Curry could be heard uttering three very obvious words as he walked down the court: “I’m f—-ing back.”
After the Warriors trounced the Nuggets 126-106 on Monday at Chase Center to grab a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series, Curry stated, “[There was a little] bounce in my step and the body felt terrific.” “You do certain shots, and it seems a little more natural and natural, and more emotion comes through, particularly after that hiatus. It was a pleasant sensation.”
Curry’s return to form may not have been necessary for the Warriors. With his calmer night in Game 1, his first game back since March 16, they did just fine. A source told ESPN before of Game 2 that the Warriors hoped Curry would start to regain his stride, but wouldn’t be worried if he didn’t. But when he did, it showed a glimpse of what this Warriors team can look like when they’re completely healthy and firing on all cylinders — like a legitimate playoff contender for the first time in years.
Curry said his objective Monday was to just make his minutes count, despite coming off the bench again and still playing under a 22- to 23-minute limit.
Curry had a plus-32 net rating with 34 points, four assists, three rebounds, one block, and one assist on the night.
When Draymond Green saw Curry’s net rating on the stat sheet, he said, “Jesus.”
Green described him as “amazing.” “He simply kept driving, and I believe it was enough to break their resistance. You’ve got him in the paint kicking out and flying back off for 3s once he’s done that. When Steph isn’t on the ball, he’s at his most deadly. It’s what you’d expect from Steph to come in and calm our offense the way he did. It doesn’t get much better than being plus-32 in 23 minutes.”
Curry made 12 of 17 field goals (71 percent), his greatest field goal percentage in the playoffs. Even though it was the 48th time he played 25 minutes or less in his career, it was the first time he scored 30-plus points in less than 25 minutes (regular season or playoffs).
Nuggets coach Michael Malone remarked, “Curry is the best sixth man in the history of the playoffs.”
He went on to say: “Steph Curry epitomizes the phrase “the most dangerous man on the court is the one who just handed the ball.” He’s been doing it for a long time. He drops the ball, you unwind, and he’s flying off another screen, demanding payment.”
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Throughout the first two games, the Nuggets have faced the same dilemma. They intend to defend Curry aggressively, maybe even using a double-team, which isn’t unusual. But what are they going to do with Klay Thompson? And now they have to deal with Jordan Poole as well.
“The issue is that you have three guys capable of scoring 30, 40 points,” Malone said. “You’ve got three guys that can grab it on their own, and they pass, move, and make plays for each other so well.”
Thompson scored 21 points on 9-of-19 shooting, while Poole added 29 points on 10-of-16 shooting, including 5-of-10 from three, eight assists, and five rebounds to his impressive playoff debut.
Poole and Wilt Chamberlain are the only players in team history to score 25 points in their first two playoff games. Poole has the second-highest effective field goal percentage in the shot-clock era (82.8%) in his first two postseason games.
“His game has matured tremendously in the last three years,” Curry said of Poole. “It’s remarkable just to see how confident he is in himself to be able to take it up a level at this point…. That is something that cannot be taught. That is something that you either have or don’t have. I’m delighted he’s got it.”
It’s difficult not to think of how the Warriors — notably Curry, Thompson, and Kevin Durant — played with their opponents during the final years of their historic run as they watch the trio perform thus far in the first round.
It was all they did with the Nuggets in the latter two quarters of Monday’s game, when the game changed entirely in Golden State’s advantage. It was practically a carbon copy of how they gained Game 1 control.
Curry, Poole, Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, and Green, the Warriors’ newest small-ball combination, entered the game at the six-minute mark of the second quarter and went on a 22-8 run. That group has outscored Denver 42-14 in 10 minutes in the first two games of the series.
“That’s two games in a row where you’re in a game and then you’re out of the game at the snap of a finger,” Malone said.
Curry, Stephen finished the night with 34 points, four assists, three rebounds, one block and one assist in 23 minutes off the bench for a plus-32 net rating. Remarked Nuggets coach Michael Malone: “Curry is the greatest sixth man ever in the playoffs.” Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports
On Monday, the Warriors went on a 26-8 run to end the half, with Curry, Thompson, and Poole scoring 24 points each.
Curry, Thompson, and Poole have combined for 149 points in the first two games of this series, shooting a collective 56 percent from the field (52-of-93) and 51 percent from three-point range (26-of-51).
Green stated, “You’re going to game prepare for Steph and you’re going to game plan for Klay, but now you have to game plan for Jordan.” “That’s a whole other animal.”
Poole has caught up on some of Curry’s intricacies, such as how he gets his looks throughout the Warriors’ system, generating space, exploiting mismatches, and moving smoothly off the ball.
Teams often attempt to trap Curry, but they must now alter their defensive strategies to include Poole as well.
Curry said, “It’s difficult to game plan against because you have to give something up.” “There are just too many possibilities. It’s tough for teams to make such judgments on the run, particularly when we’re playing quickly.”
Curry came off the bench for the second straight game, and he’ll continue to do so as long as his minutes are limited. Curry isn’t in any hurry to return to the starting lineup, stating that managing the persistent soreness in his left foot is more essential than rushing into games.
That choice is backed up by his teammates. They aren’t feeling any pressure to hurry Curry either, thanks to Poole’s performance. Green, on the other hand, argued it mattered who begins. Finally, Green said that they need Curry’s return to the field. He did, however, have a fast follow-up:
“Jordan will very certainly have to begin as well…. It’s a fantastic issue to have.”
Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry scored 34 points in 23 minutes as the Warriors dominated Denver Nuggets to take control of the series. The game was a blowout, with Golden State winning by 26 points. Reference: golden state warriors location.
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