Klay sends message to NBA about healthy Warriors in playoffs

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The Warriors' one wish for their regular season was never answered, as Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green played just 11 minutes together this season.

Thompson missed the first two months while finishing his Achilles rehab, Green went down with a back injury just as Thompson returned, and Curry sprained his foot one game after Green finished his recovery. Still, the Warriors finished the regular season at 53-29 and earned the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference.

Golden State will face reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets in Round 1. Curry's status for Game 1 on Saturday remains up in the air. The Nuggets took three out of four from the Warriors in the regular season, but Green missed all four contests.

Thompson is aware the Warriors face a tough road back to the NBA Finals, but does not doubt what a fully operational Warriors team can accomplish.

"It's a clean slate now," Thompson told TNT's "Inside The NBA" crew on Sunday about the tilt with the Nuggets. "Especially if we go into the playoffs whole, it's going to be a scary sight for the rest of the NBA. I'm just really excited to get home and rest and scout these guys. We know it's not just Jokic. They are a really balanced team, but obviously he's a problem."

Jokic has been sensational this season and is expected by many to once again be named league MVP after dragging the Nuggets to the playoffs without Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. On the season, Jokic averaged 27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds, and 7.9 assists while shooting 58.3 percent from the field and logging a 13.7 Box Plus/Minus.

The All-Star center had his way with the Warriors this season, averaging 28.0 points, 15.8 rebounds, and 8.8 assists per game in the four contests. He shot 51.9 percent from the field and logged a true shooting percentage of 57.6.

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Of course, all of those numbers came with Green on the bench. Having Green on the floor to battle Jokic changes the dynamic of a Warriors-Nuggets matchup.

While the Jokic-Green battle will be a key factor in determining the outcome of the first-round series, the Warriors need Curry back and near 100 percent to have a realistic shot at getting through the Western Conference. Curry has been out since March 16 and is set to be re-evaluated Monday.

Head coach Steve Kerr said Curry's status remains up in the air.

Winning 53 games with their core playing 11 totals minutes together is a big achievement for the Warriors. But their playoff road only lasts as long as Curry, Thompson, and Green can take them.

"He's one of the greatest to ever play the point guard position," Thompson told TNT when asked if Curry's health and availability would play a factor in their playoff fortunes. "Without him, our hopes for where we want to go, they are just not the same. He's the engine that makes us go. Same with Draymond, he's our heart and soul. We need those two guys at 100 percent health.

"Just to share the floor with those two again, it means so much not only to me but to the organization, to the heights we been able to reach. We plan to reach them again, but it's going to take a lot of resolve and a lot of fight."

That fight begins Saturday when the Warriors welcome Jokic and the Nuggets to Chase Center for Game 1.

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