The Warriors established a script in Game 1 and stuck to it in Game 2, beating the Nuggets 126-106 on Monday night at Chase Center. With the win, the Dubs take a 2-0 series lead with Game 3 set for Thursday night in Denver.
After a slow start had the Dubs down early, the Warriors turned the game around with a big run to end the first half, and they never trailed again. In the first game of the series on Saturday, it was an 18-4 run to close the second quarter that put the Warriors in control. On Monday, it was a 26-8 spurt that turned a 12-point deficit into a six-point advantage by the time the second quarter buzzer sounded.
The Warriors continued the surge with a 44-point third quarter and cruised to their second straight win to start their 2022 playoff run. Stephen Curry came off the bench and led the way with 34 points, Jordan Poole scored 29 and Klay Thompson added 21 points in the win.
Denver reserves led a 14-2 run in the second quarter, putting the Nuggets ahead by 12 points. A behind-the-back pass from Jordan Poole set up a Nemanja Bjelica layup, and Poole converted a steal into a layup on the next possession to cut the deficit back into single digits. It turns out, the run was just getting started. Curry checked back into the game at the next whistle and the Warriors extended the run to 16-0, sending the capacity crowd at Chase Center into a frenzy.
“The crowd has been great. The energy has been fantastic,” Head Coach Steve Kerr said after the game. “The crowd feels it when we’re playing well and we feed off each other.”
Curry twisted and turned into a layup to give the Warriors the lead during the run, and the surge grew to a 26-8 spurt by the time halftime arrived, with Curry, Thompson and Poole accounting for 24 of the team’s final 26 points of the second quarter.
SURGE CONTINUES IN THIRD QUARTER
The Warriors’ momentum rolled right into the second half, as Poole connected on a four-point play on the Dubs’ first possession of the third quarter. That shot set the tone for a period in which the Dubs shot 14-for-21 from the floor and 7-for-11 on 3-pointers. Curry, Poole and Thompson combined for 31 points in the period, including six 3-pointers, and the Dubs outscored Denver 44-30 in the quarter.
As was the case on Saturday, Curry took on a reserve role in Game 2 on Monday. And when he entered the game, he seemingly had the hot hand already. The two-time MVP went 12-for-17 from the floor, making five 3-pointers and scoring 34 points in 23 minutes of game action. In the process, Curry surpassed 3,000 career postseason points, becoming the 27th player in NBA history to reach the milestone.
Curry’s efficiency was symbolic of the entire Warriors offense on Monday, as the Dubs shot 55 percent from the floor and 43 percent (17-for-40) on 3-pointers while posting a 3-to-1 assist (27) to turnover (9) ratio.
After a standout performance in his playoff debut on Saturday, Poole made more standout plays in Game 2. He made five 3-pointers and when bigger defenders stepped out on him on the perimeter, Poole used his speed and handle to get to the rim and make plays for teammates. Poole complemented his 29 points with a game-high eight assists, four of which resulted in Bjelica (10 points, 5-for-6 shooting) buckets.
JOKIC’S STRONG START
Reigning MVP Nikola Jokic had the Nuggets in front early with 12 first quarter points, giving Denver an 11-point advantage midway through the first quarter. But after that, things got more difficult for Denver as the Warriors pushed the pace with smaller lineups. Jokic finished with team-highs of 26 points and 11 rebounds, but the Nuggets were outscored by 26 with him on the floor – the worst plus-minus rating of any player on the floor on Monday.
- Golden State is averaging 124.5 points per game over the first two games of the series, while holding Denver to 106.5 points per game… Golden State tallied 126 points tonight – during the 2021-22 regular season, the Warriors earned an 18-1 record when scoring at least 120 points.
- The Warriors shot better than 50 percent for the second straight game … The Warriors are averaging 53.6 percent from the field in the series.
- The Warriors improve to 39-33 all-time in Game 2 of the playoffs, winning their fourth-straight Game 2… Since the 2015 NBA Playoffs, the Warriors are 17-4 in Game 2s.
- The Warriors' 44 points in the third quarter was the most by the Warriors in any third quarter of a playoff game dating back to 2015 (ESPN Stats & Info).
- The Warriors went on a 16-0 run in the second quarter (7:25 to 3:38), the longest run in the playoffs by the Warriors since a 20-0 run at Toronto on June 2, 2019… Since the 2015 NBA Playoffs, this is the sixth 15 (or more)-0 run by the Warriors.
- Golden State committed nine turnovers, two shy of the franchise playoff-low mark of seven (4/8/67 at St. Louis).
- Prior to Monday, the last time the Warriors had three players with 20 or more points in a playoff game was on June 13, 2019 vs. Toronto (Thompson - 30, Curry - 21, Andre Iguodala - 22.
- With a capacity crowd at Chase Center (18,064) this evening, the Warriors sold out their 420th consecutive game, the fourth-longest active streak in the league.
- The Warriors improved to 39-3 dating back to the 2015 postseason when shooting 40-percent or better from 3-point range… Golden State made 42.5% of its shots from three in tonight’s win.
- Up Next: The Warriors travel to Denver to face the Nuggets on Thursday, April 21 (7:00 p.m. PT).
- Stephen Curry became the first player in the shot clock era to score as many as 30 points in 23 minutes-or-less in a playoff game (Elias Sports Bureau)… He extended his NBA-record playoff 3-point streak to 114 consecutive games (in the regular season and playoff combined, he has a NBA-record streak of 215 games)… His 34 points are the second-most by a Warriors reserve in franchise history, trailing only a 40-point effort by himself on May 9, 2016 at Portland in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals.
- Draymond Green recorded three steals, reaching 200 for his playoff career and becoming the 29th player in NBA history to reach the milestone.
- Jordan Poole has totaled 59 points in his first two career playoff games, the second-most points scored by a Warrior in their first two career playoff games, trailing only Wilt Chamberlain’s 63 points.
- Nemanja Bjelica scored 10 points off the bench and tied a playoff career-high of five made field goals (previously set on April 18, 2018 at Houston).