Gargantuan Nikola Jokic's efforts not enough to overcome the Warriors

2022-04-22 05:11
Credit: USA TODAY Sports - Scanpix

Stephen Curry and Jordan Poole scored 27 points each, Klay Thompson added 26 and the visiting Golden State Warriors beat the Denver Nuggets 118-113 (34-32, 35-27, 18-30, 31-24) on Thursday night to take a 3-0 lead in their Western Conference first-round playoff series.

Gary Payton II had 11 points and Draymond Green finished with 10 assists for Golden State, which can close out the series Sunday in Denver.

Nikola Jokic had 37 points and 18 rebounds for the Nuggets, who have lost seven straight playoff games dating back to last season. Aaron Gordon added 18 points and 12 rebounds, Will Barton scored 13 points and Monte Morris had 10.

Player of the Game
Jordan  Poole
Jordan Poole
Points 27
Accuracy 9-13
Rebounds 3
Assists 3

The Warriors surged to a 97-93 lead four minutes into the fourth quarter, but Gordon hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to a point with 7:50 left.

Thompson hit another 3-pointer and Andre Iguodala converted a three-point play to put Golden State up 103-99.

Jokic scored the next six Denver points and Jeff Green made two free throws to tie the game at 107 with 4:27 left.

Curry and Gordon traded two made free throws apiece before Jokic's driving finger roll put the Nuggets ahead 111-109 with 3:20 left, but then the Warriors took over.

Andrew Wiggins hit a corner 3-pointer out of a timeout to put Golden State ahead for good, Poole made it 114-111 with a driving layup, and Curry increased the margin to five with 40.8 seconds left.

Denver missed three shots and committed two turnovers as the Warriors pulled away.

The Nuggets tied the game at 45 midway through the second quarter, but Golden State went on a 16-4 run to lead by 12 with 4:01 left in the half. Denver got within four on a jumper by Jokic, but the Warriors scored the last six points of the half -- on a 3-pointer and a three-point play -- to lead 69-59 at intermission.

The Nuggets opened the third quarter on an 11-2 run to get within a point. Thompson hit a 3-pointer before Denver responded with another run, capped by two dunks by Gordon, to go ahead 80-75.

Golden State scored the next seven points to regain the lead. Bones Hyland's corner 3-pointer tied it at 85, and the Nuggets took an 89-87 lead into the fourth quarter.

Nuggets: Nikola Jokic 37 (12/19 2PT, 2/3 3PT, 7/9 FT, 18 REB, 5 AST, 3 STL, 5 TO), Aaron Gordon 18 (6/12 2PT, 12 REB, 4 AST), Will Barton 13 (3/7 3PT, 5 AST), Monte Morris 10 (1/5 3PT, 6 AST).

Warriors: Stephen Curry 27 (6/8 2PT, 3/9 3PT, 6/8 FT, 6 AST, 4 TO), Jordan Poole 27 (6/8 2PT, 3/5 3PT, 6/9 FT), Klay Thompson 26 (4/5 2PT, 6/13 3PT, 2 BLK), Gary Payton 11 (3/3 3PT).

Full game highlights:

Nikola Jokic highlights:

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