OAKLAND -- Stephen Curry gets the save, and he was nothing less than phenomenal coming to the rescue Thursday night.
But the win for this series-clinching playoff victory goes to Andrew Bogut.
The Warriors navigated a 92-88 victory at Oracle Arena to eliminate Denver from the Western Conference playoffs because Bogut picked them up each time they fell during a stumbling, wobbling and altogether scattered first half.
Because Bogut in Game 6 was everything the Warriors wanted him to be when they needed him most. He's the reason confetti fell at the end.
Curry was spectacular for a quarter, the very important and decisive third quarter, but the Warriors will advance to meet San Antonio in the second round because Bogut spent most of the evening commanding the area near the baskets. Yes, both baskets.
The 7-foot center ambled off the floor with season highs in minutes (39), points (14, on 7-of-10 shooting) and rebounds (21). He blocked four shots and undoubtedly altered others. Just because he could, Bogut added three assists and a clutch fourth-quarter steal.
"I didn't expect that," coach Mark Jackson said.
"Incredible performance by the big fella," guard Jarrett Jack marveled.
If you looked closely at the arena floor when this was over, you might see some of Bogut's blood and skin, along with plenty of his sweat.
"It was a struggle,'' conceded Bogut, who compiled impressive numbers while hobbling up and down the court. "But it was very satisfying to have a good game and close a team we weren't supposed to beat."
The Nuggets won Game 5 Tuesday in Denver by going with a big lineup and using every inch of that size to their advantage, particularly around the basket.
But when they tried the same tactic Thursday night, going big, there was Bogut being bigger than he was in Game 5, and better than he has been at any time this season.
This is what the Warriors were hoping for 14 months ago when they traded popular guard Monta Ellis to Milwaukee for a big man they knew was wounded and coming off major surgery on his left ankle.
They needed what Bogut offers, needed it bad. The Warriors, desperate for a big man, tried whispering into the ear of then-Orlando center Dwight Howard, waving the promise of dollars and opportunity under his nose, only to watch Howard work his way from the Magic to Los Angeles.
The Warriors also had rolled up their sleeves to create a vacancy for another big man, Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, then threw money at the 7-footer and got nothing.
Desperate to be relevant and running out of options, the Warriors settled upon their third choice. Bogut. And they couldn't be happier, certainly not after this.
With Howard already out of the playoffs and Jordan barely a factor in the Clippers' first-round series against Memphis, Bogut was there for the Warriors, grabbing the Nuggets by the throat.
"He controlled the game for us," rookie forward Draymond Green said.
Yet even Bogut needed help. That's where Curry came in. So lethargic in the early going, as Denver kept a lead, the point guard came out for the second half like a thunderclap.
Two free throws for a 44-44 tie, with 10:13 left in the quarter, a 3-pointer for the lead, and another trey for punctuation, forcing Denver coach George Karl to call timeout, suddenly down 50-42 less than three minutes into the quarter.
This was vintage Curry, scoring 8 points in 66 seconds, energizing his teammates and the crowd, changing the complexion of the game, delivering it to the Warriors.
Somebody had to come to the aid of Bogut, and Curry filled that role.
And the Warriors almost gave it back. They stretched the lead to 18, faded badly down the stretch as it dropped to two, and had to hold on to give Jackson his first career playoff win as a coach.
"It got emotional and I'm still emotional, because just how incredible of a blessing this is," he coach said. "And I think that God has a sense of humor, because he wanted to show folks at the end, as we threw the ball all over the place, and it's only a miracle that we advanced."
The Warriors could have used a healthy David Lee. They turned instead to their other talented big man. He responded. Hobbling and grimacing much of the way, he endured.