CALIFORNIA – Stephen Curry had 22 points and eight assists, Andrew Bogut broke out with the best performance of his injury-saddled season, and the Golden State Warriors eliminated the Denver Nuggets with a 92-88 victory in Game 6 last night at the Oracle Arena in Oakland.
“When we go in the locker room, we’re jumping up and down, we’re hugging, we’re changed men,” Warriors’ coach Mark Jackson said. “This is the greatest group of men as far as a team that I’ve ever been around or seen in my life.”
Bogut had season bests and career playoff highs of 14 points and 21 rebounds, and Draymond Green added a career-high 16 points and 10 rebounds to power Golden State into the second round for the first time in six years.
Bogut also became the first Warriors player with 20 rebounds in the playoffs since Larry Smith had 23 on May 12, 1987, at the Lakers.
“It’s very emotional for me because I’ve had a nightmare of a year,” said Bogut, who added four blocks and three assists in an unforgettable performance after rehabilitating his left ankle most of the season.
The Warriors went ahead by 18 points early in the fourth quarter before holding off one final Nuggets flurry.
Andre Iguodala scored 24 points and Ty Lawson had 17 in another disappointing early exit for Denver, which has lost in the first round nine of the past 10 seasons. The Nuggets won 23 of their final 26 regular-season games to earn the Western Conference’s third seed, then lost four of six to the hot-shooting Warriors.Meanwhile in Chicago, Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson each scored 17 points, and the Brooklyn Nets again avoided elimination, beating the short-handed Chicago Bulls 95-92 to tie their first-round series at 3.
The series goes back to Brooklyn for Game 7 tomorrow, with the winner getting defending champion Miami in the second round.
Jimmy Butler had 17 points for the Bulls who were without Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich because of injury.