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The Golden State Warriors closed the regular season on a five-game win streak behind the improved play of veteran mainstays Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
The two 3-time champions are both rounding into form at the right time for Golden State after somewhat tumultuous seasons coming off of major injuries.
While neither is 100% and likely won’t be until the beginning of next season, our team of ProBasketballDocs see enough to believe they are rounding into form for the playoff run.
Green carries an SIC Health score of 88 and Thompson has a score of 84 to start the playoff run, although both those numbers will likely increase gradually as the playoffs progress.
Thompson struggled as he re-adjusted to NBA basketball after nearly 1,000 days away and has still only played 32 games since June 2019.
Both he and head coach Steve Kerr vocalized the difficulties he had trying to ease his way back. He is entering his first playoff run in three years.
The 32-year-old found his groove in the closing weeks while working next to Green and Jordan Poole, averaging 27.3 points in 35 minutes per game over his last 11 contests and an even more robust 30.8 points with 4.2 rebounds on .480/.452/.875 splits in his last six.
Green, meanwhile, played in 12 games – 10 starts – after returning on March 14 from a two-month absence while he battled a herniated disc in his lower back. The issue is unlikely to go away anytime soon, but the 2017 Defensive Player of the Year appears to be managing it well for the time being.
Kerr said Wednesday on sports radio that Green is “beyond the injury” and has “broke[n] through from a conditioning standpoint.”
Green played in each of the Warriors' final six games, including two back-to-backs, averaging 8.8 points with 7.2 rebounds and 6.6 assists in just under 29 minutes a night.
He will be expected to carry a major defensive load against the Nuggets, who boast a frontcourt led by incumbent MVP Nikola Jokic and versatile forward Aaron Gordon.
The Warriors have not lost a playoff series in which Stephen Curry, Thompson, and Green play every game since 2014, and those three are 72-25 overall in the playoffs.
Curry is expected to play in Game 1 and carries a SIC score of 61.
The trio played only 11 minutes over three games together this season. Green’s back injury popped up the day before Thompson’s return on January 9 and Curry suffered his foot sprain in Green’s second game back.
The Warriors are currently +800 in NBA Championship odds at FanDuel Sportsbook.