The Warriors Turned On The Jets To Take A 2-0 Series Lead Over The Nuggets

On Saturday evening, the Golden State Warriors held serve at home, taking a 1-0 series lead with a double-digit win over the Denver Nuggets at Chase Center. In advance of Game 2, the Nuggets faced considerable pressure and, in the early going, Nikola Jokic and company sustained success. However, the Warriors flipped the script as they often do, zooming to a massive run in the second quarter and, behind a dominant third period, Golden State secured a 126-106 win to take a commanding series advantage.

The Nuggets scored the first seven points of the night but, in what was a relatively uninspiring opening quarter on both sides, Denver led by only one point after 12 minutes of action. Denver’s best stretch was still to come, with the Nuggets using a 14-2 run to take a 12-point lead with more than seven minutes remaining in the first half.

That was, at least broadly, the end of the positive mojo for the Nuggets, with Denver losing ground on the scoreboard and expressing frustration along the way.

In short, Golden State closed the half with a haymaker, turning the 12-point deficit into a halftime lead. The Warriors outscored the Nuggets by a 26-8 margin over approximately seven minutes, leaning on their small-ball lineup, and the home team would never again trail.

The Warriors were +17 in fewer than 13 minutes with Stephen Curry on the floor in the first half. The former MVP scored 16 points on 10 shooting possessions off the bench, and he wasn’t alone in putting pressure on the Nuggets.

Golden State was showing signs of what was to come, and the third quarter was a masterclass on the offensive end of the floor. When the 12-minute period came to a close, the Warriors had scored 44 points on 14-of-21 shooting, including 7-of-11 from three-point range. Golden State also added 9-of-12 at the free throw line with nine assists, and both Curry (10 points) and Jordan Poole (13 points) left a mark.

The Warriors led 101-81 as the fourth quarter arrived, and the Nuggets never made an appreciable run. Perhaps the most notable development of the closing period was a second technical foul assessed to Nikola Jokic, who was ejected with seven minutes remaining after scoring 26 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.

Golden State’s margin was comfortable from there, and the Warriors continued to put on a show. After a 30-point eruption in Game 1, Poole was excellent again, scoring 29 points on 10-of-16 shooting with eight assists. Curry scored 34 points on 12-of-17 shooting with 5-of-10 from beyond the arc in just 23 minutes off the bench, and Klay Thompson added 21 points for good measure.

The Warriors were also able to use part of the fourth quarter for repetitions with a devastating three-guard front of Curry, Poole, and Thompson, which could prove quite useful in the near future. As a team, Golden State made 17 three-pointers on 40 attempts, finishing with 27 assists against only nine turnovers.

The series shifts to Denver on Thursday evening and, with Jokic on the other side, the Nuggets are capable of throwing a counterpunch in the series. Still, the Warriors sent another message on Monday evening, and Golden State’s ceiling appears to be sky-high with Curry working his way back, Poole playing at a high level, and Draymond Green in a groove as the captain of the defense.