The Warriors won Game 1 of their Western Conference tie against the heavily understaffed Denver Nuggets, taking down league MVP Nikola Jokic 107-123 at the Chase Centre. Jordan Poole, a player who was in the G League last year but has had a remarkable turnaround this year in the league, scored 30 points in 9-of-13 shooting to cap off his memorable playoff debut.
🏀 FINAL SCORE THREAD 🏀
Donovan Mitchell: 32 PTS, 6 REB, 6 AST
Bojan Bogdanovic: 26 PTS, 5 REB, 4 AST
— NBA (@NBA) April 16, 2022
The Golden State Warriors were meant to own the 2010s. They had organically built a team from the NBA Draft that included two of the greatest shooters to ever roam this planet and then made them effective by drafting a undersized power forward who guarded all five positions like his life depended on it. As if this trio’s death grip on basketball wasn’t enough, they then added Kevin Durant, one of the greatest scorers the game had ever seen. The result – a team that was equipped to never lose.
But then injuries happened, Durant moved to fresher pastures in hopes of leading his own team and age started to become a factor. But finally after over 1000 days, the original three that redefined basketball and made the Golden State Warriors a household name, returned to the playoffs.
“He’s demonstrated he’s pretty much ready for any moment,” said Steph Curry on Poole’s playoff performance. Curry started from the bench after the Warriors decided to take it easy on their MVP who is returning from a month out of basketball after spraining his left ligament.
The Warriors perimeter of Poole, Thompson and Curry was deadly. They combined for 65 of the Warriors’ 123 points on the night.
— NBA (@NBA) April 17, 2022
“Give them credit. This is a very talented team with tremendous playoff experience. I think the key stretch was the end of the second quarter,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said in the post-match presser. “You don’t want to play from behind in this building against this team.”
A night for young players
It wasn’t just Poole who had a debut playoff night to remember. Both Anthony Edwards for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Tyrese Maxey for the Philadelphia 76ers had high scoring playoff debuts to begin their team’s campaign’s.
Edwards dropped 36 points as Minnesota, who qualified for the playoffs through the play-in tournament, shocked the No 2 seeds in the Memphis Grizzlies to gain home court advantage.
Maxey had a breakout night for the 76ers as he took over from stars Joel Embiid and James Harden to score 38 against the Toronto Raptors. 21 of his 38 points came in the third quarter and he hit five three-pointers on the way to the win. Post the All-star break Maxey had become a reliable scoring option for the 76ers, averaging 18.7 points a game on 48% shooting from 3s.
“I saw growth, man,” Harden said in the post-match press conference. “I saw him from being up-and-down and not really having consistent minutes last year in the postseason to starting and having a huge role on a championship-contending team.”