Stephen Curry scored 30 points in his first start of the series and the Golden State Warriors clinched their first-round matchup with a 102-98 victory over the Denver Nuggets in Game 5 on Wednesday night in San Francisco.
Klay Thompson contributed 15 points, nine rebounds and four steals and Gary Payton II also scored 15 points for the Warriors, who won the series four games to one.
Golden State will face either the Memphis Grizzlies or Minnesota Timberwolves in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs.
Curry made five 3-point baskets and also had five rebounds and five assists. He came off the bench in the first four games of the series after recovering from a left foot injury.
Andrew Wiggins scored 12 points and Draymond Green had 11 points, six assists and three steals for the Warriors.
Nikola Jokic registered 30 points, 19 rebounds and eight assists for the Nuggets despite tweaking his right hamstring early in the third quarter. The reigning MVP scored 12 of Denver’s final 14 points.
DeMarcus Cousins contributed 19 points, Aaron Gordon recorded 15 points and eight rebounds and Will Barton and Monte Morris added 14 points apiece for the Nuggets.
The game was tied at 90 before Payton drove for a layup with 2:10 remaining and Curry followed with a driving hoop with 1:33 left. Jokic scored on the inside to cut Denver’s deficit to two before Payton drilled a 3-pointer to make it 97-92 with 1:06 left.
Jokic scored again with 53.1 seconds left, but Curry’s layup with 29.9 seconds remaining again made it a five-point margin, and the Warriors closed it out.
Denver shot 44.4 percent from the field, including a shaky 20.7 percent (6 of 29) from 3-point range.
The Warriors made 45.1 percent of their shots and were 13 of 31 (41.9 percent) from behind the arc.
Denver used a 14-4 burst early in the third quarter to open up a 64-54 lead. The margin was again 10 after Barton’s layup with 7:05 left in the period.
Golden State then erupted on an 14-5 surge. Curry drained two 3-pointers in a span of 41 seconds to bring the Warriors within one. After Barton drilled a trey for the Nuggets, Curry splashed another 3-pointer as Golden State crept within 71-70 with 2:20 to play.
Cousins scored the final seven points of the quarter — including a 3-pointer with 1.3 seconds left — as Denver took a 78-70 lead into the final stanza.
Jokic made back-to-back shots to tie the game at 90 with 2:26 to play.
The Nuggets went on a 12-4 burst late in the first half to take a three-point edge. Thompson’s 3-pointer with 49.2 seconds remaining knotted the score at 48 going into the break.
–Field Level Media