It only took 5 games, but the Golden State Warriors are moving on in the 2022 playoffs. A series full of highs and low, it was the Warriors’ star power that proved too much for the Denver Nuggets. With Stephen Curry and company getting ready for the Memphis Grizzlies, it is back to the drawing board for the Denver Nuggets and their intriguing off-season.
Golden State Warriors vs. Denver Nuggets Series Recap
Fear The Warriors
Despite some worrisome free-throw shooting, the Golden State Warriors are in rare form. While it was expected for Curry and Klay Thompson to stand out, Jordan Poole has become a true breakout star. Averaging 21 points per game, Poole showed undeniable tenacity on both the offense and defensive end.
But this was more than a one-player effort. With a playful nickname attached, the Warriors’ new small-ball lineup may become their ace for the rest of the playoffs. A combined average of .520% from the field and 98 assists can put this team in the driver’s seat to the NBA Finals.
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) April 28, 2022
Nikola Jokic Should Be NBA MVP
When you average 31/13/5 in a 5-game playoff, you should be held in high regard as an MVP. But Nikola Jokic continues to be one of the most polarizing MVP winners and 2022 candidates. Without Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., Jokic took it upon himself to carry the Nuggets throughout this series. A herculean effort, the former 2020-2021 NBA MVP showed his entire repertoire against the Warriors. Averaging a staggering .575% from the field while still dishing almost 6 assists per game, Jokic showed his ability to not only carry the Nuggets but also lead by example.
Nikola Jokić is the first Nuggets player over the last 25 years to record 10 rebounds in a single quarter of a playoff game. pic.twitter.com/imql1IFSGK
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 28, 2022
But will he receive the votes necessary to win the trophy? It should be this series, regardless of the loss, that must be the blueprint.
Health Is Wealth
Regardless of the outcome, the Golden State Warriors still had their share of injuries. From Game 1, Curry was doubtful to play Game 1 after missing 12 games at the end of the season and the Play-In Tournament. Can he maintain a positive trend of a clean bill of health en route to a deep playoff run?
This same question can go for Thompson, who as mentioned in our series preview, has only played seven games with Curry. Outside of the Warriors’ dynamic backcourt, the team’s success will rely on the health of Andre Iguodala. An added defensive reinforcement along with Draymond Green, Iguodala may not have been the impact player needed in this series but will be important in the next round. Can this team maintain a clean bill of health into June?
What’s Next For the Golden State Warriors and Denver Nuggets
Up next for the Golden State Warriors is the Memphis Grizzlies. In a series that has already begun on a historic note, the Warriors look to slow down the NBA’s Most Improved Player in Ja Morant. The key in this series will be Green, as the defensive anchor will need to avoid any more technical fouls as he is one away from being suspended for a game. While on paper this seems to be a 50/50, it will be on Curry and Thompson with their health history to prove their mettle.
For the Denver Nuggets, they will look toward the future while waiting for the recovery of Murray and Porter Jr. Another key will be improving this year’s roster as the Nuggets look to capitalize on this year’s success. With a report publicly stating ownership is willing to exceed the luxury tax this summer, the Nuggets continue to be buyers this off-season.
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