The Golden State Warriors are moving on to the Eastern Conference Semi-finals after beating the Denver Nuggets 92-88 on Thursday night. Andrew Bogut led the Warriors with his first double-double of the playoffs as he finished with 14 points and 21 rebounds in the win.
Both are season-high’s for Bogut after he missed most of the regular season due to injury. His 21 rebounds was the most by a Warriors player in the playoffs since Larry Smith had 23 against the Los Angeles Lakers on May 12, 1987.
A sellout crowd of 19,596 were in attendance as the Warriors advanced to the second round for the first time in six years. The Warriors’ strong third quarter made the difference as they held on in the fourth to finish off the Nuggets.
Stephen Curry found his rhythm after the half and went four-for-four from behind the arc in the third as the Warriors erased the Nuggets’ halftime lead. Curry finished with 22 points, eight assists, and four rebounds in just under 42 minutes on the floor.
The Warriors held an 11-point lead after the third quarter and extended it to 18 before the Nuggets put together one run after another to climb back in the game. After a stretch of over six minutes without a basket, the Nuggets strung off 13 straight and held the Warriors scoreless for over five minutes.
Golden State led by as much as nine within the final two minutes but once again the Nuggets cut the lead to make for an exciting finish. After a Wilson Chandler lay-up, Andre Iguodala hit a three-pointer, and Kenneth Fairied made one-of-two free throws on the following possession to make it 90-88 Warriors.
On the next play, Iguodala stole the inbound’s pass and got it to Chandler, who missed a lay-up and the put-back before knocking the ball out of bounds during a scrum in the paint. The Nuggets intentionally fouled Jarrett Jack on the next play, and he hit both free throws to make it 92-88 Warriors with 7.3 seconds left.
Andre Miller had a chance to tie it with a three-pointer, but it rimmed out, and Faried missed a jumper at the buzzer. Confetti started to fall, and the celebration began for the fans in Oakland. The Warriors win gave the Nuggets a first round loss for the ninth time in the past 10 seasons.
Stephen Curry won his first NBA playoff series ever, and he spoke about the win during a press conference after the Nuggets almost stole Game 6 right out from under the Warriors.
“Everybody’s relieved to finally get it done,” Curry said after the game. “It’s still kind of a hazy kind of feeling because of the way the game ended and it going down to the last possession.”
Golden State will now move on to face the No. 2 seeded San Antonio Spurs in the conference semi-finals on Monday. The Spurs swept the Kobe-less Lakers in the first round and were the first team to advance into the second.
Can the Golden State Warriors continue their great start to the NBA Playoffs by upsetting the Spurs in the second round?
[Image via Matthew Addie]