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Curry nets 34, helps Warriors lead Nuggets 2-0

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Stephen Curry drove to the basket with fervour and knocked down a three-pointer while falling to the ground getting fouled to convert a key four-point play, exhibiting all the signs he’s his healthy former self at last.

And the raucous home crowd loved every minute of No 30’s galloping, grinning, body-shaking show.

Curry came off the bench for a second straight game following a month-long absence with a foot injury, scoring 34 points to lead the Golden State Warriors past the Denver Nuggets 126-106 yesterday for a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven playoff series.

“The first half a little pep in my step and the body felt good, I was able to kind of get to some spots,” Curry said.

“When you make certain shots it feels a little different, it feels a little bit more normal and more emotion kind of comes out, especially with that layoff, so it was a nice feeling.”

He was only on the floor three seconds shy of 23 minutes, and no player in the shot clock era had scored as many as 30 points in 23 or fewer minutes in a playoff game, according to Elias.

Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry is guarded by Denver Nuggets’ Aaron Gordon in the second half during Game Two of the Western Conference first round playoff-series. PHOTO: AFP

“It didn’t surprise me because we’ve been watching this for a long time with Steph,” coach Steve Kerr said. “You never really are surprised when he has an outburst like that. It’s great to see.”

Nikola Jokic had 26 points and 11 rebounds before being ejected with seven minutes left after a second technical and was held back from a referee, after his first technical came with 2:31 to go in the third.

“I’m not supposed to do that, and I’m not going to do that,” Jokic said. “I think I got fouled in the moment because I heard the slap. That’s why I just reacted.”

The MVP candidate’s emotions ran high all night. In the first quarter, Golden State guard Gary Payton II patted Jokic on the backside and the big man turned and came toward Payton when Curry stepped in and held the seven-footer back and Jordan Poole came in to help.

Draymond Green’s defence flustered Jokic all night.

“If you feel like you’re getting under their skin you press up a little more,” Green said. “If you don’t feel like you’re getting under their skin, you press up a little more.”

Poole started for Curry again and contributed 29 points – just missing a chance to become the first Warriors player ever to score 30 in his first two playoff games.

Klay Thompson added 21 points, while Curry shot 12 for 17 with five 3s as Denver again had no answer defensively for all of the Warriors’ dangerous perimeter threats.

The series shifts to Denver for Game 3 tomorrow night.

Will Curry start? He said his goal for now is “to make my minutes impactful”.

“We’ll see,” Kerr said.

The Warriors are rolling with the backing of their adoring fans, winning their seventh in a row overall following a five-game winning streak to close the regular season.