Warriors Sightings: Steph Curry’s heroism thwarted as Nuggets force Game 5

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DENVER — It didn’t take long for it to become clear that we could be in for a nasty Game 4 on Sunday at Ball Arena in the Warriors’ first-round NBA playoff series against the Denver Nuggets. Just 40 seconds into the game, Draymond Green accidentally pricked Nuggets star Nikola Jokic in the eye before Green and Aaron Gordan then found themselves in a kerfuffle that cost them each a technical foul.

That’s how the rest of this game would go, and it turned into an absolute fight. Both teams made their best shots against each other. Both got up and responded throughout the game.

But the Warriors took too many punches and fell 126-121, failing to complete a sweep.

The loss was full of bizarre moments like Steph Curry missing four free throws for the first time in his career, despite scoring 15 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter. The umpires decided to take Too Short’s “Blow The Whistle” to the extreme, and after the first quarter, the Nuggets had 12 free throws to the Warriors’ only two. Jordan Poole finally had his first mediocre shooting game in what seemed like an eternity, and Draymond Green fouled with just over two minutes left after playing fantastic basketball and finishing a plus-18 in 34 minutes. .

Klay Thompson put up a vintage playoff performance, but it wasn’t enough.

Here are three takeaways from the Warriors’ five-point loss after winning the first three games of the series.

Game 4 Clay

Thompson has a long list of nicknames, including “Game 6 Klay.” Well, “Game 4 Klay” showed up in Denver on Sunday.

He came out shooting, scoring eight early, but foul issues kept him within four minutes in the first quarter. By half time he had committed four fouls, the fourth being Charmin soft in the dying seconds of the half. If it hadn’t been for those early fouls, we don’t know how different this game might have been.

In 31 minutes, Thompson scored 32 points and made his first five 3-point attempts. In the end, he shot 12 for 20 from the field and made seven of his 11 shots from deep. The rest of the Warriors went 5 for 23.

It marked Thompson’s first 30-point playoff performance since Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals when he scored 30 points before suffering a torn ACL. In all four games of this series, Thompson has increased his points. He scored 19 in game 1, 21 in game 2, 26 in game 3 and then 32 in game 4.

Poole Party closes early

In the Warriors’ first three games against the Nuggets, it was easy to forget that this was Poole’s first playoff preview and that Sunday was his first closing game. He was averaging nearly 29 points heading into Game 4 and was the Warriors’ No. 1 option most of the time.

But Poole looked out of control at times and couldn’t find his shot while battling a lingering problem with his left elbow not shooting. While he dished out nine assists, Poole scored just 11 points while going 3-for-10 from the field and 1-for-5 from 3-point range.

Poole (minus-6) was the only Warriors starter to finish in the negative on his plus-minus.

Playoff Kuminga

Rookie Jonathan Kuminga waits patiently, looking to make his mark in this playoff after playing brief minutes of lost time in the Warriors’ first two games. He didn’t play a second in Game 3, but with the Warriors at fault and Andre Iguodala struggling, Steve Kerr turned on the 19-year-old with just over 11 minutes left in the second quarter and did not look back.

Kuminga looked a bit lost at first but quickly showed the kind of spark he can bring to the Warriors. Even if it’s inconsistent at times, you can always count on at least one telling climax from it.

Not only did Kuminga score nine points in the second quarter, but he played solid defense against Jokic, ran the floor and showed he belonged – at least for some stints.

He didn’t return to the game after the second quarter, and it will be extremely interesting to see how he is used in Game 5 and beyond.

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