Steph Curry marked his return to the starting line-up by leading the Golden State Warriors past NBA MVP Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets.
Curry scored 30 points as the Warriors closed out their first-round series 102-98 on Thursday (PKT) in five games.
Warriors needed every single one of those points to hold off the Nuggets as Curry scored 11 during the fourth quarter after the Warriors began the final 12 minutes down by eight.
The two-time MVP converted a three-point play with 1:33 left and scored again with 29 seconds remaining to ice the game and send the Warriors on to the second round in the Western Conference.
Denver was high on confidence after avoiding the sweep and made seven of its first 10 shots after halftime to turn a 48-all tie into a 66-56 lead.
Nikola Jokic had another monster game, adding 30 points along with 19 rebounds and 8 assists in just 32 minutes.
The likely to repeat MVP averaged an absurd 31 points per game and 13.2 rebounds per game but could not match the strength of Golden State without the absences of Jamal Murray and Michael Porter jr.
Curry was in no mood of making another trip to Denver for a Game 6 and shot 10 of 22 with five 3-pointers taking his 5 threes made in post-season games tally to 49.
Ray Allen and Klay Thompson combined have 49 such games.
Steve Kerr started small with Curry, Jordan Poole, and Klay Thompson, as Kevon Looney came off the bench in place of Curry who had to do so after suffering an ankle sprain against Boston.
Thompson had 15 points and nine rebounds with Wiggins, Draymond, and Gary Payton II chipping in with 12, 11, and 15 points each.
Jordan Poole, after a hot streak early in the series, had a bad night, scoring 8 points.
Steph Curry has had to wait three years to carry Golden State on a big playoff stage — like those five straight trips to the NBA Finals — but he certainly looks to be up for it.
Since 2015, the Warriors have won 19 of their 21 postseason series.
They await the winners of the Memphis Grizzlies and Minnesota Timberwolves series for a shot at the Western Conference title.