It was 2007 the last time the Golden State Warriors advanced to the second round of the NBA playoffs. Like that season, when they upset the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks, they have just toppled a higher seed to advance.
By virtue of a 92-88 win in Game 6 Thursday night, the No. 6 Warriors sent the No. 3 Denver Nuggets home for the summer.
While Mark Jackson and the Warriors have to be pleased with the final result, they can't be happy with how they executed down the stretch. An 11-point lead entering the final frame evaporated as a result of sloppy play and 10 turnovers.
Andre Iguodala got his three-point stroke going, and this game was very much in doubt until the confetti started falling.
It was stellar performances in front of the home crowd by Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut that got the job done, however. Curry tallied a team-high 22 points and eight assists, while Bogut grabbed 21 rebounds to go with 14 points. Both players had fantastic third quarters, but things got tight in the fourth.
Iguodala's fourth trey cut the Golden State lead to just four, with 1:52 to go. His fifth, cut it to three with 1:01 to go. That was when the Warriors really started to appear panicked.
With 20 seconds left, Klay Thompson committed the 10th Warriors turnover of the quarter, with his team only leading by two. Luckily for Thompson, the Nuggets couldn't take advantage, missing a pair of attempts at the rim. And Jarrett Jack was able to ice the game with a pair of free throws.
There were two brief celebrity sightings at the game. One was a suprise David Lee cameo that got everyone up in arms thinking he was fully back. The other was an ecstatic MC Hammer waving a rally towel "so hard."
Eight straight points from Curry—featuring a pair of treys—pushed Golden State ahead of Denver early in the third quarter. That was the first time the crowd really got going.
Curry and Bogut continued to destroy the third quarter. It was like the key in the ignition was finally turned on as soon as Kenneth Faried went to the Denver bench with his fourth foul (and third of the quarter) at the 10:22 mark.
Curry wound up with 14 points and three assists in the quarter.
Corey Brewer, a major factor off the Nuggets bench, picked up his fifth foul on a terrible bump of Jarrett Jack with .8 seconds remaining in the third.
Allowing Curry a brief breather, the Warriors went on a 7-0 run to start the fourth quarter. Five of those were scored by the pair of rookies, Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes.
The Nuggets turned four Warriors turnovers into a 13-0 run to cut the deficit to five, as Golden State really fell asleep at the wheel midway through the fourth.
At that point, it was Green who stepped up, netting six straight Warriors points. He had a great game, going for 16 points and 10 rebounds off the bench.
Jackson and his team will be celebrating after this one, and rightly so. They just have to keep in mind that the San Antonio Spurs are waiting, and they won't be able to get away with such poor clutch play in the second round.