There was a lot of anticipation for Game 1 of the series between the Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors, because it was the first time that Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green played in the postseason together since the 2019 NBA Finals. What many fans didn’t expect, though, was that Jordan Poole would be their main man in the opener.
Thompson wasted no time getting it going, and was dialed in from long range from the get-go. He splashed in threes in the first half on the way to 14 points.
The Nuggets aren’t any pushovers though, even while missing Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. As always, Nikola Jokic was a steady presence, and he had 14 points, five rebounds and three assists at halftime.
Fortunately for the Dubs, Poole came to play and poured in 17 points in the first half while shooting a perfect 6 of 6 from the field. Whether at the hoop or 27 feet away, the youngster made a huge impact in his playoff debut.
Sweet shooting was the story of the second half, as the Warriors didn’t let the Nuggets cut into their 58-47 halftime advantage. A big part of that was because Thompson and Poole showed off their range in the second half, which allowed Golden State to push their lead to 90-70 heading into the final stanza.
Thompson finished the game making 5 of 10 triples for 19 points, which was definitely a welcome sight for Warriors fans in the building.
Poole led all scorers with 30 points and three assists while shooting 9 of 13 from the field and 5 of 7 from three. Some of his threes were from Steph’s kind of range, too.
While Steph didn’t have the biggest scoring night, he did look good in his return. His movement didn’t looked labored and he still splashed in some threes on the way to 16 points and four assists in 22 minutes off the bench.
Jokic played his heart out for the Nuggets, but he didn’t get enough help from his teammates. With no one else scoring well, the Warriors were able to key in on the Serbian and exhaust him. He was visibly tired by the third quarter, because the Warriors contested almost all of his shot attempts. That actually made his 12 of 25 performance from the field more impressive, but one man alone can’t beat a team like the Warriors. He finished with 25 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, three steals and a block but had to earn every bucket.
There was visible frustration on the floor, with DeMarcus Cousins getting a pair of technicals in the fourth quarter to get thrown out of the game. The Nuggets will need to figure out a way to get everyone else involved in Game 2, as the 123-107 defeat was indicative of the gap in talent between the two teams.
Poole’s performance is what will be remembered about this game, though. His debut was the second highest-scoring playoff debut for the Warriors, only behind Wilt Chamberlain.
Speaking of Wilt, I’m going to end this article by leaving this here.