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SAN FRANCISCO — Stephen Curry dribbled via almost your entire Denver Nuggets staff earlier than placing up the right tear-drop layup to place the Warriors up by 5 with 29.9 seconds left within the recreation Wednesday evening. Then he seemed into the group and clasped his arms underneath one facet of his head, signaling to the Nuggets that it was time to fall asleep.
Curry’s bucket was the dagger that ended the Nuggets’ season and propelled the Warriors to the 102-98 victory, punching Golden State’s ticket to the Western Convention semifinals. The Warriors advance to face the winner of the Timberwolves-Grizzlies sequence, with Recreation 1 occurring as quickly as Sunday. Memphis has a 3-2 sequence lead over Minnesota going into Recreation 6 on Friday evening.
For the primary half-hour Wednesday evening in opposition to the Nuggets, the Warriors seemed lifeless, and Chase Heart was almost useless. The unsure and nervous vitality was palpable.
On the 6:20 mark of the third quarter, Draymond Inexperienced hit a 26-foot 3-pointer to convey the Warriors inside six of the Nuggets. It gave them their preliminary push to breathe life again into themselves and the constructing. The fourth quarter is once they actually got here alive.
The Warriors lastly discovered an offensive rhythm, whereas additionally slowing the Nuggets on the opposite finish. Nikola Jokic acquired into foul hassle — choosing up his fifth private simply seconds after checking into the quarter — aiding the Warriors.
Curry led the Warriors with 30 factors on 10-of-22 taking pictures, together with 5 3-pointers in 38 minutes.
Recreation 5 was Curry’s first begin of this postseason and in addition was the primary time the Warriors’ beginning unit featured their newfound deadly small-ball lineup of Curry, Klay Thompson, Jordan Poole, Andrew Wiggins and Inexperienced. The unit’s first stint lasted simply three and a half minutes earlier than Kevon Looney checked in for Poole. Due to early fouling, the Warriors did not return to that mixture a lot.
Thompson added 15 factors, whereas Inexperienced had 11 factors, six assists, three blocks and a steal. Gary Payton II supplied an instrumental increase off the bench, enjoying his patented protection and scoring 15 factors on 6-of-8 taking pictures, together with a wide-open 3 to provide the Warriors a much-needed 86-84 lead as they entered the ultimate stretch of the sport. He hit one other 3 to place the Warriors up with slightly below a minute left within the recreation.
After two blowout video games in Video games 1 and a couple of, and two aggressive ones in Denver — one win and one loss — all of the Warriors needed to do was tie the bow on their first-round sequence in opposition to the Nuggets in Chase Heart’s first closeout recreation.
Thompson went so far as to say Recreation 5 was a must-win recreation. Not within the sense that it was win-or-go-home, however in a approach that was clear they could not give this Nuggets staff, which has made two unbelievable playoff comebacks earlier than, any extra life and return to Denver.
The Warriors allow them to stick round greater than they wished to in Recreation 5, however in the end, they achieved their aim.
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