Golden State Warriors must find their groove in round one

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Jordan Poole #3 of the Golden State Warriors reacts after he believes he was fouled by it wasn't called during their game against the Los Angeles Lakers in the second half at Chase Center on April 07, 2022 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Jordan Poole #3 of the Golden State Warriors reacts after he believes he was fouled by it wasn't called during their game against the Los Angeles Lakers in the second half at Chase Center on April 07, 2022 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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The Golden State Warriors won’t have the luxury of snoozing through the first round as they did in the past. This year, not only do they have a formidable opponent on the other side but the Dubs have numerous reasons to be on their A-game and establish themselves early as a contender.

The Golden State Warriors will have to take full advantage of their round one matchup to brace themselves for the Western Conference contenders.

Life has changed quite a bit since the Dubs were in contention for the best record in the NBA. They finished 53-29, their best record since 2019. Yet, they fell to third in the West and nearly dropped all the way to fourth.

Key injuries have stifled any momentum they had hoped to build. Still, the late emergence of Jordan Poole and a string of confident games from Klay Thompson has the Dubs in a position to beat the Denver Nuggets even if Stephen Curry is not available for Game 1.

Even so, this will be Poole’s first playoff series — and Thompson’s first time back in the fire since tearing his ACL in the 2019 NBA Finals. It is important for these two to get rolling early and build on the growth they showed at the end of the regular season. Reverting into a slump would be disastrous.

Then, there is Curry. Assuming he is back by at least Game 2 of the series, time will be short for the former MVP to put everything back together and brace himself for a playoff run. He has to take advantage of this first round in order to get his groove moving forward.

That being said, Golden State can NOT treat the first round like a stepping stone. Sure, the goal is to use this series as a launching point for the rest of their playoff run — but the Nuggets are not a team that can be scoffed at.

A true challenge in round one will benefit the team if they are able to overcome it. This is an important series to kick off what the Warriors are hoping is a championship journey.

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