Jordan Poole managed an impressive 30 points on 9-of-13 shooting, including five 3-pointers. Only Wilt Chamberlain, the owner of the only 100-point performance in NBA history, has scored more points in their play-off debut in Warriors history.
"He's not afraid of the moment," Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said of Poole. "He's looking forward to it."
Stephen Curry returned after missing much of the final month of the regular season with a foot injury, and he put up 16 points on 5-of-13 shooting in 22 minutes off the bench.
"I thought he looked great," Klay Thompson said. "His shot was short in the first half, but that's to be expected when you come off a long layoff. But he's still Steph Curry. Just his gravity and the threat of him being out there is the best. It makes us a championship team."
Indeed, having Curry out there in any capacity is going to make your team that much more dangerous, as even a compromised version of himself can land three-pointers if defenders don't take him seriously. It's all genetic for the all-time leader in 3-point shots.
Have the Warriors found their ideal line-up?
The Warriors took over the league from 2014 to 2019 with their willingness to play small and surround the floor with a bunch of shooters.
That same method was on display last night with Curry, Poole, Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, and Draymond Green out there on the same floor, although it was for only five minutes.
But those minutes were crucial, as the Warriors outscored the Nuggets by 14 points, which shifted the momentum the Warriors' way heading into halftime.
"It's a scary sight when we really get going," Thompson said. "This is really only our first time really playing together."
This lineup can be very deadly indeed, as it will be hard for opposing defenses to lock down the perimeter when you have to account for two of the best 3-point shooters of all time and a rising star in Poole, while also being able to keep pace with this team.
However, the Warriors went up against a team that only got there because of Nikola Jokic's otherworldly play, and they also can't expect Poole to go off for 30 every night.
A lot will be riding on Curry's health this postseason, as he looked extremely limited.
The Warriors at full strength are one of the best teams in the league, but they're eventually going to run into trouble against teams like the Minnesota Timberwolves and Phoenix Suns, as both teams have dominant big men and scorers out on the wings they have to account for, whereas they only have to worry about Jokic while facing Denver.
If they end up having to face off against the Memphis Grizzlies, then they'll also have to worry about Ja Morant and the vast shooters and wing defenders they possess.
With that taken into consideration, our prediction is that the Warriors will fall well short of the Finals this season.