If Golden State Warriors fans dreamt of how game one of the playoffs would materialize, it’s hard to envisage it looking much better than reality.
After a battle in the early stages that saw Denver hold a 43-40 lead with three and a half minutes left in the first half, the Warriors used electric bursts to break the game open at the end of the second and third periods.
The Golden State Warriors have taken a 1-0 lead over the Denver Nuggets, exploding for a 123-107 win in the first ever playoff game at Chase Center.
Golden State closed the second quarter on an 18-4 run, unveiling their newest version of the death lineup in emphatic fashion. Denver hung around to trail by nine with less than four minutes remaining in the third, before the Warriors closed the quarter on a 14-3 run to put the contest virtually beyond doubt.
Kerr makes a surprising move
Two-time MVP Stephen Curry made a successful return after a month out with injury, scoring 16 points in just under 22 minutes of action. However, he did so by coming off the bench, paving the way for Jordan Poole to continue the starting point guard duties.
Poole continued his incredible stretch of play, scoring a team-high 30 points on 9-for-13 (5-for-7 from three) shooting in his playoff debut.
It was a statement-making offensive performance for the Warriors, with all key players playing integral roles in the comfortable win. Klay Thompson kickstarted the team with three first quarter triples, while Andrew Wiggins had 16 points and nine rebounds on an efficient 6-for-11 from the floor.
Almost as important as Curry’s return, Draymond Green looked as fit and healthy as he has since returning from the worrisome back injury. The do-it-all forward finished with 12 points, six rebounds and nine assists to go with three block shots.
Perhaps more importantly, Green battled hard against reigning MVP Nikola Jokic when Steve Kerr went to an offensive-fueled small-ball lineup. The Serbian finished with 25 points, ten rebounds and six assists, but did so on just 12-for-25 shooting as he finished -19 in the game.
The teams return to Chase Center for game two of the series on Monday.