The rampant Warriors youngster signs the race-1 victory with 30 points, remaining in the quintet despite the return of Steph after a month. In Denver, the 25 points of the mvp are not enough. Race 2 Monday
& commat; dchinellato
“Waaaaa-rriors!. Waaaa-rriors!”. San Francisco waited two years to be able to sing this choir, to be able to applaud these three basket freaks to idolize like rock stars. Except in the reunion game of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, the group that brought back 3 rings in 5 seasons at Golden State and haven’t played together in the playoffs since the 2019 Finals, the man for hire is Jordan Poole. In his first time in the playoffs, the Golden State star of tomorrow leads with 30 points, rewarding Coach Kerr for the choice to start him and not Curry’s return to the quintet. Denver falls 123-107, dominated by Poole’s games and the Warriors unit, which looked so much like the days when Curry, Green and Thompson rhymed with the NBA title. Even Nikola Jokic failed to save the Nuggets: the goal now is to figure out what went wrong and try again Monday in race-2.
star among the stars
Poole is the Golden State draft for tomorrow, but confirmed he was awesome today with a playoff opener to remember. “I waited two years for this moment, but I had fantastic mentors who explained to me what to expect – he says -. They told me that I had to be myself, and it that’s what I did.” Kerr chose him in the quintet and not Curry to better control Steph’s time (16 points in 22′), knowing what to expect from Poole. “He’s not afraid of the spotlight, he works hard to be ready for times like this,” the coach said. Around Poole, Golden State flourished as in the best days, turning the ball (33 assists) and adding a magnificent defense managed by Green (12 points, 6 rebounds and 9 assists), helped in particular by Andrew Wiggins , which wore Jokic out and sent the rest of Denver into a tailspin.
In attack, in addition to Poole Thompson very well, 19 points to confirm that he is close to his best level. Curry was thus able to enjoy a comeback without having to do too much, as had happened to him the other two times in his career when he started from the bench in the playoffs. “He started off lightly, then when he got comfortable he started pulling,” Kerr said of his star. It is likely that Steph’s experience on the bench will be repeated in race-2, but in the long term the Warriors coach has the solution ready: a new Death Lineup, like the one decisive for the 3 titles, with Curry, Thompson, Poole, Wiggins and Green. “I think this quintet will be our asset for many years to come,” enthused Klay.
Denver was Jokic and nothing else. The mvp, in the cage, finished with 25 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists, but had to take 25 shots and he and Coach Malone showed frustration with just two trips to the line. It was clear that Jokic would be the focal point of Golden State’s defense, but the problem for the Nuggets was not creating viable alternatives. “We can’t beat ourselves and the Warriors in the same game – explained Malone -. In this one we made too many mistakes, we had too many moments when we lacked discipline: c that’s why we lost so badly.” Denver was down 20 points after 3 quarters, had just scored 70 points and was shooting 42% from the field, with play already compromised. But no drama, assures Jokic: “I think we have lost game 1 in practically every series since I have been here – said the mvp -. We have to react, understand how to improve. To make it a long series , we have to hope to win a match here in San Francisco: we are the outsiders, we play without pressure but at least we want to fight.
First quarter of combat (27-26 Nuggets), in the second the Warriors explode: Poole puts 14 points, the attack turns which is a marvel and the defense which, harnessed Jokic, does not have to worry about the other Nuggets. At the break, Golden State is ahead 58-47 after an 18-4 partial and in the third quarter the advantage swells again, until 90-68 that Payton (under the eyes of dad) seals the line 1′ of the third siren. The only notable event of the 4th period is DeMarcus Cousins being ejected for a double-tech for the protests: even that, like the Warriors’ spectacle, is very reminiscent of the old days.
golden state: Poole 30 (4/6 of two, 5/7 of three, 7/8 free throws), Thompson 19, Wiggins 16, Curry 16. Rebounds: Wiggins 9. Assists: Green 9.
denver: Jokic 25 (12/21, 0/4, 1/2 tl), Barton 24, Morris 10, Hyland 10. Rebounds: Jokic 10. Assists: Jokic 6, Morris 6.
April 17, 2022 (change April 17, 2022 | 08:25)
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