Recaps, Warriors

Warriors 92, Nuggets 88: Golden State survives to clinch series


I don’t know what on earth to make of that last quarter by the Warriors in which they turned the ball over nine times and let the Nuggets almost erase an 18-point deficit. But the Warriors survived. It’s a 92-88 victory. More importantly, it’s a 4-2 series the victory. See y’all in San Antonio.

Stephen Curry (22 points) was up to his usual tricks when he lifted the Warriors with another huge third quarter after an invisible first half. The Warriors trailed by two at the half and came out of the third up 11 thanks largely to Curry’s spectacular display of offensive genius. There was a stretch in which Curry, busted (enter body part here) and all, made three consecutive and was directly responsible for points on at least eight straight possessions.

But a huge nod needs to go to Andrew Bogut. The big Aussie put up 14 points and inhaled a massive 21 rebounds, including seven on offense. Bogut was a disruptive force in the low post throughout the contest, gobbling up boards, creating second chances, throwing down dunks and sending shots away. Bogut has been instrumental  this entire series for the Warriors and is making any remaining Monta apologists look downright silly.

Weirdly, David Lee saw action in this game. Yes, David “Out For the Rest of the Playoffs” Lee. David “Oh, Shit. We’re Gonna Lose This Series Without Him” It was probably more of a get-the-crowd-pumped-up move more than anything else, but if he can legitimately go in the next week, it’d be a huge boost for the Warriors in the next round. Lee. He saw just 90 seconds of action. The guys who dunk off trampolines saw the court longer Thursday night.

And yet as comfortable and ready to plan day trips at the Alamo and the River Walk Warriors fans were as the team went up 18 early in the fourth quarter, the game would prove to be far from over. Denver slowly crept back into the ball game and cut the Warriors lead down to two with 32.4 seconds remaining, while the Spurs sat back LOL’ing watching from home and Warriors fans collectively began soiling their pants. (Not MC Hammer, though. He’s too legit.)

Curry attempted just two baskets in the quarter. It was all too familiar and emblematic of a frequent Warriors problem: they go through these rough patches late in games in which they completely ignore Curry and the offense doesn’t go through him. It’s inexplicable and inexcusable.

The Nuggets had multiple chances to tie the ball game after in the last half-minute. A Klay Thompson (of course) turnover on a inbounds pass (inexcusably the second such turnover for the Dubs in crunch time) resulted in two separate looks within five feet that somehow bounced off the rim and went the Warriors way. Time slowed down when the ball was in the air and above the rim for those two attempts.

The Warriors probably lose this game and potentially also the series if they don’t get a couple bounces that go their way, the Nuggets don’t shoot 13-of-21 from the line and Corey Brewer doesn’t have functioning limbs.

Golden State is now 2-0 in as many first round series, taking out the MVP and a prime candidate for coach of the year in each respective postseason.

It’ll be the Spurs on deck for the Warriors in a match-up of old vs. young. Coaching genius vs. coaching novice. Jessica Alba vs. Eva Longoria (damn it, why couldn’t this be 2007?). It’ll be a drastic change in tempo from this series to the next, but the Warriors are capable of adjusting. The Warriors split the season series, winning both games in Oakland. It’s been much-discussed how the they haven’t won in San Antonio since, like, the 1912 (approximately). But if they can grab just one of the first two games on the road, just like it did against the Nuggets, it would be huge.

My early prediction is Spurs in 6. Where have we heard that before?

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