Warriors, Jordan Poole showed best, worst vs. nuggets

SAN FRANCISCO — First impressions matter, and, my goodness, the first impression the Warriors made this postseason was powerful.

Remember the effort we spent trying to come up with a nickname for the small-ball, three-guard lineup the Warriors debuted in Game 1 vs. the Denver Nuggets?

Would it be a pun on Jordan Poole’s name after he played like an All-Star to start the series?

No, perhaps it would be a play on the old “Death Lineup” from the Warriors’ first title in 2015.

Something new altogether?

By the time the series ended, with the Warriors dropping only one game but engaged in three slug-it-out contests with the Nuggets, the notion of a lineup nickname felt childish.

Playoff basketball is tough and physical. And while any win in that environment is worth celebrating, after the series-clinching win Wednesday night in Game 5, it sure seemed as if the Warriors’ main emotion wasn’t joy, but relief.

What a change in tone from that first impression.

“To be honest, for three quarters, our main guys — Steph, Draymond, Klay — maybe they had forgotten a little bit about how difficult it is to close out a series,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr.

Curry acknowledged it “was just a weird feeling because we had not been there in a while. Again, we wanted it so bad. Kind of made it a lot more difficult on ourselves.”

Indeed, the Warriors showed their best and their worst in their first-round win over the Nuggets.

And looking forward to the second round (and, the Warriors hope, beyond) it’s hard to imagine what happens next for Golden State.

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