Stephen Curry  start the playoffs as Golden State

Stephen Curry dribbled through nearly the entire Denver Nuggets team before making the perfect teardrop layup to put the Golden State Warriors up with 30 seconds left in the game

As he came down, he looked at the audience and put both hands under one side of his head -- signaling to the Nuggets that it was time to go to sleep.

That shot ended up being the dagger that put the Nuggets' season to bed and propelled the Warriors to a 102-98 victory, punching Golden State's ticket

The Warriors will face the winner of the Minnesota Timberwolves-Memphis Grizzlies series in the second round, with Game 1 happening as soon as Sunday.

But for the first 30 minutes of Game 5 against the Nuggets, the Warriors looked lifeless. Chase Center was nearly dead. The uncertain and nervous energy in the air was palpable.

At the 6:20 mark of the third quarter, Green hit a 26-foot 3-pointer to bring the Warriors within six of Denver. It gave them their initial push to breathe life back into themselves and the building.

We went on a run, and we cut it to one, and then they ended up pushing it back to eight. But we knew right there that we had gained the traction," Green said. "We had the game at the pace

The Warriors were down eight points when the fourth started but outscored Denver 32-20 during that final quarter and outshot the Nuggets 63% to 53% from the floor secure the series-clinching triumph

The biggest change the Warriors made was getting stops without fouling. Up until that point, the Nuggets had shot 23 free throws to the Warriors' 16.

"Once we stopped fouling, we were able to get the game at our pace," Green said. "It looked a lot more like Games 1 through 3, as opposed to Game 4."

The other key adjustment the Warriors made was going into a box-and-one defense, finally throwing a wrench into the Nuggets' offense. By getting stops without fouling, the Warriors

 were able to push the pace and play in transition, instead of facing a set Denver defense each possession, leading them into their offensive rhythm.

The Warriors let Denver stick around more than they wanted to in Game 5, but ultimately, they achieved their goal. Hopefully, it's the start of something great," Thompson said. "We're not satisfied

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