The Golden State Warriors beat the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night for their first playoff victory since the 2019 NBA Finals. The game was close early, but the emergence of a new Warriors’ closing lineup took the lead and never looked back, as they handily beat the Nuggets by a score of 123-107. Here are some of the takeaways from the Warriors postgame pressers:
Steve Kerr Discusses the Game
Head coach Steve Kerr came in with an excellent game-plan that focused on Denver’s biggest weapon, Nikola Jokic. On defense, Kerr decided to defend Jokic straight-up in order to avoid doubling and to minimize his passing ability. Kerr said the key to defending him one-on-one is understanding how to guard him without fouling. He specifically praised Draymond Green, Kevon Looney, and Nemanja Bjelica for taking the challenge and executing the game-plan perfectly.
Offensively, the plan was to attack Jokic as much as possible. This was epitomized by Kerr’s newest rendition of the “Death Lineup”. Kerr talked about how fun it was to finally see this lineup combination in action. He noted that its success comes from how well the players in the lineup complement each other and how it puts each player in their best positions to succeed.
Other than that, Kerr praised all his players for their contributions as every available player received minutes on Saturday night. He talked about how possessions are a key stat in the playoffs, so it was important that the team won that battle. Lastly, he gave credit to Jordan Poole for all the work he has done since his rookie year. Kerr said Poole has earned the trust of the vets because of his work ethic and his season long performance.
Here’s what Kerr had to say about the game:
"He’s not afraid of the moment"— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) April 17, 2022
Kerr wasn't surprised by Poole's electric playoff debut pic.twitter.com/PAGevh5om3
Steve Kerr on Draymond Green's performance: "He's one of the best players in the league. Tonight he showed why."— Golden State of Mind (@unstoppablebaby) April 17, 2022
"Draymond is a Hall of Famer"— NBA (@NBA) April 17, 2022
Steve Kerr had high praise for Draymond Green after Game 1. pic.twitter.com/ygXxwDAiwI
Steve Kerr: "Game 2 after a comfortable win is always, always a tough endeavor. We know what's coming. Denver has had a lot of success in the playoffs."— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) April 17, 2022
Warriors Players Discuss the Game
The Warriors came into this game the healthiest they’ve been all season which meant this was the perfect opportunity to showcase the newest rendition of their “Death Lineup”. Jordan Poole was particularly phenomenal in this lineup as he finished the game with 30 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field, including 5 made threes. Poole took the time to thank the vets for trusting him and said he fed off their energy as well as the energy of the crowd.
Klay Thompson ended Saturday night with 19 points on 7-of-15 shooting from the field, including 5-of-10 from the three-point line. In his postgame presser, Thompson took a moment to appreciate the feeling of being back in the playoffs. He said it was special to have all the guys on the court again and will never take that feeling for granted. He also praised Poole’s stellar performance and went on to discuss the chemistry he’s formed with him over the past month.
Stephen Curry knew he was going to have limited minutes going into Saturday’s game, so he wanted to make those minutes as impactful as possible. Although he finished with 16 points on 5-of-13 shooting from three, his gravity on the court provided the spacing which gave his teammates wide open looks all night. Curry finished the game with a plus/minus of +17. Curry noted that as long as they can keep up defensively, then the new lineup has all the makings of a very “potent offense”.
Here’s what the Warriors players had to say after the game:
"It's pretty lethal being able to have a lot of off-ball action for those guys"— NBA (@NBA) April 17, 2022
Jordan Poole on having Klay and Steph on the floor offensively. pic.twitter.com/246PfNKb3t
Jordan Poole on Draymond Green's playoff energy: "We feel it. He stepped it up a notch."— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) April 17, 2022
Klay Thompson on being back in the playoffs: "So special. Even before the tip, I thought about all of the days in the gym & days in the doctor's office & surgery table. To be flying up and down the court, knocking down shots & playing solid defense? It was a surreal moment."— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) April 17, 2022
Klay on JP: “He’s 22 years old. He’s out there scoring 30 effortlessly” pic.twitter.com/qSfiT0EGCY— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) April 17, 2022
"Draymond is the best defender in the world" - @KlayThompson pic.twitter.com/WwuoeLu3mt— NBA (@NBA) April 17, 2022
Klay on his heated exchange with Aaron Gordon:— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) April 17, 2022
"Just good old-fashioned trash talk. I missed it" pic.twitter.com/XxAK7yH98J
Steph Curry explains the decision to come off the bench. Still undecided whether that will continue in Game 2. pic.twitter.com/I02ni0rRE7— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) April 17, 2022
Steph talks through Poole's playoff debut:— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) April 17, 2022
"He doesn't lack confidence in himself" pic.twitter.com/PppsZibjzn
Draymond Green on Nikola Jokic: “I feel like he’s gonna come out and try to give me 40, 15 and 15 next Game. I feel like he’s pissed off and coming back with a vengeance.”— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) April 17, 2022
Full detailed Draymond soundbite on the challenge of defending Jokic pic.twitter.com/XHv4TCd0MH
News and Notes
Kerr said Steph looked good in his first game back. Curry was rusty in the beginning but found a rhythm as the game went on. Kerr said he will defer to Curry and the training staff for how to handle his minutes moving forward.
Steve Kerr on Stephen Curry's workload: "Whatever the training staff says, we'll adapt accordingly." Kerr added, "I don't talk to him. He's Steph Curry. He's going to do his thing."— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) April 17, 2022
On Sunday, Kerr gave an update on Curry:
Steve Kerr on Stephen Curry:— Mark Haynes (@markhaynesnba) April 17, 2022
“He's doing pretty well. I talked to him a little while ago. He came out last night well. He's going to get shots up today and get a little more work but should be good to go for tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, many reporters tried to get Kerr to reveal his plans for the starting lineup following Saturday night’s game. However, Kerr and everyone else on the team maintained that they will deal with it when they get there.
So, does JP start or come off the bench moving forward?— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) April 17, 2022
Kerr: “Yeah, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there" pic.twitter.com/Drpza0VO00
Quote of the Night
The quote of the night belongs to Stephen Curry. For all the sneakerheads out there, Curry wore his Curry 6s in what he says was an homage to Oracle Arena as this was their first playoff win in the Chase Center since leaving Oakland.
Steph wore his “Oakland” Curry 6s in Game 1 to pass the torch from Oracle to Chase Center pic.twitter.com/scGwlq31sH— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) April 17, 2022
Saturday’s win set the tone for the series with the Dubs taking an early 1-0 lead. Although this is just Game 1, it was a very impressive victory from the Warriors to start the postseason. Up next, Golden State will host Denver for Game 2 on Monday at 7pm.
You can find the full transcripts of Game 1’s Postgame Pressers here.