NBA: Steph Curry returns, Jordan Poole leads Warriors past Nuggets

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Jordan Poole #3 of the Golden State Warriors reacts after he made a basket and was fouled by the Denver Nuggets in the first half during Game One of the Western Conference First Round NBA Playoffs at Chase Center on April 16, 2022 in San Francisco, California. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images/AFP

Jordan Poole exploded for 30 points as the Golden State Warriors rolled to an easy 123-107 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday in the opening contest of their Western Conference first-round series at San Francisco.

Stephen Curry added 16 points in 22 minutes off the bench after missing the previous 12 games with a left foot injury. Curry’s timing was off as he finished 5-of-13 shooting in his first action since March 16. Klay Thompson scored 19 points.

Nikola Jokic registered 25 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for Denver. Will Barton added 24 points for the Nuggets, who didn’t play like the squad that won three of four regular-season outings against the Warriors.

Poole was 9-of-13 shooting — including 5 of 7 from 3-point range — as his point total tied Hall of Famer Mitch Richmond (1989) for the second-highest scoring playoff debut in Warriors’ history. Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain holds the record of 35 in 1960 for the Philadelphia Warriors.

Andrew Wiggins contributed 16 points and nine rebounds, and Draymond Green had 12 points, nine assists, six rebounds and three blocked shots for Golden State, which shot 52.4 percent from the field and was 16 of 35 from 3-point range.

Bones Hyland and Monte Morris added 10 points apiece for the Nuggets, who made 46.2 percent of their shots and were 11 of 35 from long distance.

Denver trailed 76-67 with 3:54 left in the third quarter before the Warriors erupted with a 14-1 run. Curry scored six points during the burst as Golden State opened up a 22-point advantage.

The Warriors led 90-70 entering the final quarter and the Nuggets soon inched within 16 points. But Golden State answered with a 10-2 burst with Poole draining a 3-pointer to make it 102-78 with 8:12 left and the Warriors cruised to the finish.

Poole scored 17 first-half points on 6-of-6 shooting as the Warriors held a 58-47 lead at the break.

Curry entered the game for the first time with 5:58 left in the first quarter and didn’t shoot in the stanza. He re-entered with 6:25 left in the second quarter and scored his first points on a layup with 1:14 remaining.

Curry later drained a 3-pointer in the final seconds to cap an 18-4 splurge and give Golden State the 11-point halftime lead. He had five points on 2-of-8 shooting in the half.

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