Golden State Warriors wing Klay Thompson emphasised that it all starts on the defensive end, while highlighting the performance of Andrew Wiggins after his side's 112-87 Game 1 blowout of the Dallas Mavericks.

The Warriors had seven players score in double-figures, led by Stephen Curry with a game-high 21 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, along with tying for the game-high with four assists.

While the Warriors' offense was strong, shooting 56.1 per cent from the field, it was their defense that won them the game, holding the Mavericks to 18 points in the first quarter and igniting a 15-4 run to start the third.

A main talking point from the series opener was the impressive performance of Andrew Wiggins, scoring 19 points while being the primary defender on Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic, holding him to 20 points on six-of-18 shooting with seven turnovers.

Speaking after the game, Thompson discussed the narrative that he is not the defender he once was and what he thinks makes the Warriors defense so good.

"I think our length, starting with Andrew [Wiggins] – he was moving them puppies tonight," he said.

"I still take pride in my defense, no matter what people say about if I've 'lost it' or not, I still think I'm a very good defender. Steph is in the [passing] lanes, obviously Draymond [Green], we can count on him every night on that side of the ball.

"I don't really pay attention to the noise [about criticism of his defense] – I know what I'm capable of, and I know what my team-mates are capable of. I knew we were able to do what we did tonight – it was just going to take a lot of focus and trusting each other.

"I'm trying. It's hard. Marking the best player every night for 40 minutes is not easy, and going to get buckets on the other end, but it's something I love to do. 

"All the best two-guards to ever play the game played both sides of the ball – whether it was Mike [Jordan], Kobe [Bryant], [Dwyane Wade], guys I really idolised as a kid – they all competed on that side, so I just try to follow the same mould."

Thompson went on to touch on the mediocre performance from Doncic, before showering Wiggins with further praise, saying he is happy people are finally seeing "who he really is".

"Luka is obviously one of the best players in the world," he said. "It didn't help that they played two days ago, off that emotional high of winning a Game 7, so we expect them to come back with a much better effort on Friday. 

"That's why [Wiggins] was the number one pick [of the 2014 NBA Draft]. You can't teach that athleticism, you can't teach that length or his timing. 

"I'm just happy the world is getting to see who he really is – an incredible wing player – and he will be like this for the next 10 years.

"I think him being here, he's allowed to be himself. We have so many great, talented players that it can be somebody's night and the ball will find them. 

"Andrew was incredible tonight, I can't say enough good things about him. 

"He makes my job so much easier, I don't have to check the best player every night – after what I've been through, that's a nice change of pace. He doesn't seem to get tired, his outside shot has greatly improved, and he's just coming into his own.

"It's just one game, and we can feel good now, but [the Mavericks] were down 2-0 and won their series last round."

Warriors coach Steve Kerr echoed Thompson's sentiments about Wiggins.

"I thought [Wiggins] was fantastic," he said. "Doncic is as difficult a cover as there is in this league, and we just asked Wiggs to try to hound him and guard him as best as he could. 

"He did a fantastic job – Wiggs is just a huge part of our defense and our team. I thought he was great offensively as well, so great night for Andrew."

When asked about the job the Warriors defense did on him, Doncic was respectful but had little to add.

"They did a great job – that's it, that's all I have to say. They did a great job," he said. 

"It's one game, that's what the playoffs is about. Whether you lose by one or you lose by 40, it's a loss, so we just have to get ready for Game 2 now."

Stephen Curry hailed Mike Brown's input after the Golden State Warriors moved 3-1 ahead in their Western Conference semi-final series duel with the Memphis Grizzlies.

Brown, who has agreed to become the Sacramento Kings' next head coach, is seeing out his final weeks as assistant with the Warriors and stepped up on Monday when Steve Kerr tested positive for COVID-19 and was ruled out of Game 4 duties.

Curry joked Brown was setting trends, after being made head coach of two teams in such quick succession.

The Warriors were held to just 38 points in the first half, but Curry stepped up, scoring 18 of his 32 points in the final quarter, including eight consecutive clutch free throws in the final minute as his team edged ahead and clung on to a narrow lead.

"It's been a wild day all round. You just had to figure it out on the fly," Curry said after the 101-98 win.

"We've been through this before. In '16-17 the coach had his back problems back in the day when he was out of the line-up but still had an influence, and Mike B stepped up.

"We didn't have a lot of time to react. We went out and tried to execute. We obviously didn't for three quarters. Defensively we were solid, but offensively we couldn't get anything going, and we gutted it out."

Curry became the first player to reach 500 three-pointers in NBA playoffs during the narrow win.

Brown's move to Sacramento was only agreed on Sunday and will take effect once the playoffs are over. With Warriors head coach Kerr sidelined, Brown kept the team moving closer to the Western Conference Finals.

"He had a lot of good words tonight," said Curry. "I don't know in history if anyone's been named head coach of two teams in 24 hours, so he's continued to set some trends.

"He's been through it all, been with us for this last six years, been interim coach for a little bit and made his presence felt, especially defensively."

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss Game 4 against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Assistant coach Mike Brown will step in as acting head coach – a role he is familiar with.

During the Warriors' 2017 championship run, Brown went 12-0 as acting head coach in the playoffs as Kerr was sidelined for an extended period, with the Warriors ultimately finishing that postseason with a 16-1 record.

It is interesting timing for Brown, who was announced as the next Sacramento Kings head coach on Sunday.

He has been with the Warriors since 2016, after spending 10 years as a successful head coach beforehand, winning over 61 per cent of his games with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers.

Gary Payton II suffered ligament and muscle damage along with a broken left elbow in the Golden State Warriors' defeat to the Memphis Grizzlies – but he might not be out of the playoffs just yet.

The Grizzlies' Dillon Brooks was ejected in the first quarter of Tuesday's game for a nasty-looking strike across the head of Payton in midair, which was followed by a rebuke from Warriors head coach Steve Kerr.

Kerr said that Brooks "broke the code" of the sport with that incident, claiming it had been "dirty" play.

The Warriors were beaten 106-101 by the Grizzlies, leaving their Western Conference semi-finals series locked at 1-1 ahead of the next tussle on Saturday.

While Payton will not feature again against the Grizzlies in this series, it appears he could have a role to play if the Warriors go any deeper into the playoffs. For now, the plan is to assess his condition in two weeks' time.

A Warriors team statement said: "Gary Payton II, who exited Tuesday's Game 2 in Memphis after sustaining an injury to his left elbow, underwent an MRI yesterday in the Bay Area. The MRI confirmed a fracture in the left elbow, in addition to ligament and muscle damage. He will be re-evaluated in two weeks."

The Warriors also offered an update regarding veteran Andre Iguodala, seemingly ruling out a return until at least Game 6, should the series with the Grizzlies go so far.

"Andre Iguodala, who has missed the team's last three playoff games due to a disc injury in his neck, is making good progress in his recovery and will be re-evaluated again in one week," the Warriors statement read.

A seething Steve Kerr accused Dillon Brooks of "breaking the code" after an incident that left Gary Payton II with a broken left elbow.

Kerr's Golden State Warriors went down 106-101 to the Memphis Grizzlies, leaving their Western Conference semi-finals series locked at 1-1, in a heated match full of flashpoints.

The Grizzlies' task was made all the more difficult when Brooks was ejected in the first quarter for a nasty-looking strike across the head of Payton II in mid-air.

An X-ray later showed the extent of the damage caused and Payton II is set to undergo an MRI scan on Wednesday.

Kerr acknowledged the physicality of playoff basketball but was fuming with Brooks' play.

"I don't know if it was intentional but it was dirty," Kerr told reporters after the game.

"Playoff basketball is supposed to be physical. Everyone will compete, fight for everything. But there's a code in this league, a code players follow, where you never put a guy's season or career in jeopardy by taking someone out in mid-air and clubbing them across the head and ultimately fracturing Gary's elbow. 

"This is a guy who's been toiling the last six years trying to make it in this league, finally found a home, playing his butt off this year – in the playoffs it should be the time of his life and a guy comes in and whacks him across the head in mid-air. 

"He broke the code. Dillon Brooks broke the code that's how I see it."

Another heated incident saw Draymond Green raise his middle finger towards the Grizzlies fanbase, who jeered the Warriors star after an elbow to the face left him with a cut to his right eye that had nearly swollen shut by half-time.

Green was unrepentant after the game, saying: "[If] you gonna boo somebody who got elbowed in the eye, face running with blood you should get flipped off. 

"So, I'll take the fine, I'll do an appearance and make up the money. But it felt really good to flip 'em off, if you gonna boo someone who got elbowed in the face with blood running down their face, I could have had a concussion or anything. 

"If they gonna be that nasty, I can be nasty too. I'm assuming the cheers are because they know I'll get fined. Great, I make $25million a year I should be just fine."

Ja Morant was the hero for the Grizzlies, scoring 47 points – matching his postseason high – despite himself struggling to see out of his left eye having been hit going for a rebound in the third quarter.

The All-Star guard atoned for missing a layup in Game 1 that would have won the Grizzlies the game, a defeat he conceded was at the forefront of his thinking during Tuesday's contest.

"That loss was on my mind a lot, obviously missing that layup late," Morant said. 

"But coming into today, I told myself we needed a win, and we were going to get a win. I just took it upon myself to go out there and do that for us."

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr says his side is still in an ideal situation despite the Denver Nuggets claiming a 126-121 win on Sunday and avoiding a sweep.

Careless play put the Warriors down 17 points down at one stage, but they managed to eventually draw level through the shooting of Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry.

Turning the ball over 11 times in the first half, the Dubs started in a sloppy manner against a Denver side fighting to keep their season alive.

The 56-year-old Kerr believes Golden State are still in a good spot and that the nature of the loss can nevertheless act as a good reference point looking ahead in the post-season.

"We needed that," Kerr said post-match. "We took ourselves out of the game because we were too excited, and part of winning playoff basketball games on the road is executing being poised, understanding what's happening and sticking to the game plan. We didn't deserve to win.

"But now, you take that and put it in your back pocket, and you've got it in the memory bank for the next time we're in that situation.

"But the focus now goes to heading home and getting back in front of our fans. This is the situation you want in any playoff series when you're hosting – sweep the first two, get one out of two on the road and go home with a chance to clinch. We're right where we need to be."

Kerr's play-calling down the stretch also came under scrutiny after the loss.

Following a Monte Morris floater to put the Nuggets up 123-121 with 33 seconds remaining, Kerr called a lob for Andrew Wiggins off the inbound from the consequent timeout.

Austin Rivers' steal of Otto Porter Jr's inbound pass effectively sealed the win for Denver, but it came in the face of Curry and Thompson in good shooting rhythm.

"Yeah, I would like that play back," Kerr said. "There's 33 seconds so we're thinking a two-for-one. If we get a two-for-one, then we can tie the game and have a chance to win it at the end.

"So it's a good two-for-one situation, but the lob wasn't there, and if I could do it do it again I'd probably draw up something different. But they made a great defensive play, give them credit."

Steph Curry was hailed as the "greatest sixth man ever in the playoffs" after a 34-point performance from the bench that made that case.

Two-time NBA MVP Curry is working his way back from a foot injury and has been kept out of the Golden State Warriors' lineup for their first two games against the Denver Nuggets in the first round.

The Warriors have won both, though, and Curry had a huge role to play in Game 2, scoring 34 points in just 23 minutes on 12-of-17 shooting to earn a plus/minus of 32.

"Jesus," said Draymond Green when he looked at the stat sheet. "Steph plus-32... that's incredible. Wow."

It was only Curry's fourth playoff appearance from the bench, and his 34 points still fell short of the 40 he scored against the Portland Trail Blazers in his first such appearance in 2016 – the most by any player coming off the bench in the postseason since at least 1985-86.

He has averaged 29.5 points across those four games, another record over that period.

The performance against the Blazers came in 37 minutes, however, with this latest display against the Nuggets the best performance by a bench player in 25 minutes or fewer. Only Paul George – 35 against the Dallas Mavericks in 2020 – has scored more in 25 playoff minutes as a starter.

"I'm back," Curry bellowed at one stage, later explaining: "In the first game, I didn't really feel normal, like I had the real flow. Then the first half [of Game 2] I had a little pep in my step and my body felt good.

"I was able to get to some spots, and when you make certain shots, it feels a little different. It feels a little bit more normal and more emotion comes out. It was a nice feeling."

Meanwhile, Jordan Poole, starting in Curry's place, followed up his 30 points in Game 1 with 29 in Game 2. Klay Thompson added 21.

Nuggets coach Michael Malone said: "You have three guys that are capable of putting up 30, 40 points.

"Jordan Poole had 30 points in Game 1, he had 29 tonight. Steph Curry is the greatest sixth man ever in the playoffs. They bring a guy off the bench like that, 34 points, five threes... and then Klay Thompson."

The Warriors have an issue now, Green acknowledges, working out how to get all three guards into the same lineup.

"We're not going to keep Steph in the sixth man role, forget that," he said. "But saying that, ultimately, Jordan is probably going to have to start, too.

"Ultimately, we've got to figure a bunch of stuff out. It's a good problem to have, a great problem to have."

Green was happy to let Steve Kerr "figure that one out", but the coach is very pleased with Curry's attitude to returning to action on the bench.

"Steph is Steph," Kerr said. "You don't need to sell him on anything.

"He's very unique. He's incredibly humble and incredibly arrogant on the floor – humble off the floor, arrogant on the floor. It's a great combination. Anything that is going to help the team he's all for."

Steph Curry is likely to return for Game 1 of the Golden State Warriors' first-round series against the Denver Nuggets, after missing the home stretch of the regular season with a foot sprain.

The two-time MVP and three-time NBA Champion is averaging 25 points, six assists and five rebounds this season in 64 games – his most games played since the 2018-19 season.

Curry is essential to the Warriors' success, as illustrated by their 8-10 record in games he has missed this season, compared to 45-19 when he has played.

Golden State head coach Steve Kerr spoke about how everyone is desperate to get the star guard back on the court, but the organisation will not rush him back before he has proven his readiness.

"We're not going to play him without getting a scrimmage," he said.

"The whole team will need a scrimmage, given that we generally play every other day and now we have six days between games, that's pretty unique. 

"But it would be irresponsible to put Steph out there in a playoff game without having scrimmage time before."

Kerr also suggested that if Curry is to suit up in Game 1, he will be on a minutes restriction, saying he won't play "30, 35 minutes", and may come off the bench.

Curry's 'Splash Brother', Klay Thompson, also weighed in on the status of his team-mate.

"It felt good to play, and Stephen Curry looked like himself," he said. "He just gives everybody a lift with just his presence on the court. 

"It was great to have him out there."

Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry could return to full practice this week as he recovers from a sprained ligament and a bone bruise in his left foot.

Curry has not played since March 16 when he suffered a sprained ligament and a bone bruise in his left foot against the Boston Celtics, missing the side's past 12 games.

The Warriors will face the Denver Nuggets in the first-round playoffs, with Game 1 scheduled for Saturday in San Francisco.

Curry remains "day-to-day" but Kerr said he would need to join in scrimmage, scheduled for Thursday, ahead of Saturday's game, having been restricted to individual work.

"It's essential, we're not going to play him without giving him a scrimmage," Kerr told reporters on Tuesday.

"The whole team will need a scrimmage given that we generally play every other day and all of a sudden we have six days between games, that's pretty unique.

"Everybody will need a scrimmage but it would be irresponsible to put Steph out there in a playoff game without having scrimmage time before."

He added: "Each day will determine where he is and what he can do the following day. At the end of the week, we'll determine if he's ready or not. It's hard to predict much."

The Warriors went 6-6 without Curry in the side across the final dozen regular-season games, winning their final five to see off the Dallas Mavericks for third seed in the Western Conference.

Kerr had previously said: "We'll see how everything goes with Steph next week. There's a chance he could be ready for game one, there's a chance he might not.

"It's literally going to be a day-to-day thing as it all unfolds this week. We'll know a lot more after the next few days when he's ramping up his work. but there's a chance we could get everybody on the same age and healthy.

"We haven't reached our potential yet. That's exciting to me. We have some room for growth."

Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry could return to full practice this week as he recovers from a sprained ligament and a bone bruise in his left foot.

Curry has not played since March 16 when he suffered a sprained ligament and a bone bruise in his left foot against the Boston Celtics, missing the side's past 12 games.

The Warriors will face the Denver Nuggets in the first-round playoffs, with game one scheduled for Saturday in San Francisco.

Curry remains "day-to-day" but Kerr said he would need to join in scrimmage, scheduled for Thursday, ahead of Saturday's game, having been restricted to individual work.

"It's essential, we're not going to play him without giving him a scrimmage," Kerr told reporters on Tuesday.

"The whole team will need a scrimmage given that we generally play every other day and all of a sudden we have six days between games, that's pretty unique.

"Everybody will need a scrimmage but it would be irresponsible to put Steph out there in a playoff game without having scrimmage time before."

He added: "Each day will determine where he is and what he can do the following day. At the end of the week, we'll determine if he's ready or not. It's hard to predict much."

The Warriors went 6-6 without Curry in the side across the final dozen regular-season games, winning their final five to see off the Dallas Mavericks for third seed in the Western Conference.

Kerr had previously said: "We'll see how everything goes with Steph next week. There's a chance he could be ready for game one, there's a chance he might not.

"It's literally going to be a day-to-day thing as it all unfolds this week. We'll know a lot more after the next few days when he's ramping up his work. but there's a chance we could get everybody on the same age and healthy.

"We haven't reached our potential yet. That's exciting to me. We have some room for growth."

Klay Thompson knew this would be a season of "ups and downs" so was delighted he could save one of his best performances for a big game on Saturday.

The Golden State Warriors beat the Utah Jazz 111-107 to secure their place in the playoffs for the first time since 2019 – the last in their run of five straight NBA Finals appearances.

Breakout star Jordan Poole was vital again with 31 points, but the night belonged to Thompson, who had 36.

Thompson sustained the first of two serious long-term injuries in the 2019 Finals against the Toronto Raptors and so missed the entirety of the next two campaigns, in which the Warriors fell short of the postseason.

He returned this year but has not always looked like one of the greatest shooters in NBA history.

Thompson is shooting career lows both from the field (41.8 per cent) and from three-point range (37.1 per cent), while his 19.3 points per game are his fewest since 2013-14, before the Warriors' dynasty began.

But this has been a difficult season for Golden State as a whole, their strong early start fading in the face of further injury problems.

Thompson, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green have only appeared together in three games and started together just once.

With the finish line nearing, though, it was Thompson who ensured they should get the opportunity to line up in the playoffs, when it is hoped that Curry will return.

"I know I can flip a switch just like that," Thompson said. "I knew this year would have its ups and downs, and I just told myself yesterday that it's one game and I will move on.

"I told Kenny Atkinson that I felt like I was going to have a big night tonight, and it came to fruition. I'm happy it did."

Coach Steve Kerr added: "We've seen it a million times. If Klay just sees the ball go through the hoop a couple of times, he can make the bad ones, too.

"I didn't think this was a dramatic improvement in terms of shot selection, but I think the fact that that midrange shot was there, that allowed him to get into a rhythm, and then he started making the impossible ones."

The Warriors were 21 points behind at one stage in the second quarter, making this their biggest comeback win of the season. They finally claimed the lead with 3:33 left in the game.

"What a performance," Kerr said. "I was amazed by the skill of Klay and Jordan, the emotion and passion from Draymond, and the methodical defense and energy from Andrew [Wiggins] and Otto [Porter Jr.].

"It was an unbelievable performance down the stretch by our guys."

James Wiseman will not see the court in his second season in the NBA after the Golden State Warriors made the decision to shut him down for the year. 

Wiseman's rookie season was cut short by a meniscal tear in his right knee, for which he underwent surgery last April. 

The center – the second overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft – had averaged 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds across his first 39 professional games. 

But Wiseman has not added to those numbers in 2021-22, spending the entire season rehabilitating his knee. 

Now, with only nine games of the regular season remaining, the Warriors have confirmed the 20-year-old will not return – even with a playoff campaign to come. 

Warriors general manager Bob Myers explained the decision in a statement released by the team on Friday. 

"We've maintained throughout his entire rehabilitation process that we're going to be patient and look out for James' best interests in what we anticipate to be a long and successful career," Myers said. "As a 20-year-old, his entire career is ahead of him. 

"For us, as an organisation, our focus is on James' long-term health, and we're confident – and our doctors are confident – that this long-term approach will help James become the player we believe he will evolve into when he returns to the court." 

Coach Steve Kerr added his input when meeting with the media as the Warriors prepared for their game against the Atlanta Hawks. 

"Ultimately, it's very simple: we're just protecting James' future," Kerr said. "It makes the most sense to go this route. 

"I feel terrible for James – he's been through so much already in just two seasons – but his long-term health looks good, the knee looks sound. 

"It's just a decision that we feel makes the most sense for his own best interest and our best interest as well." 

Kerr explained it was a call made "in the name of being cautious" as Wiseman's knee is "structurally sound, but he has swelling". 

"It didn't make sense to play him over the next couple of weeks, that's where the knee is," the coach added. 

And Kerr is confident the Warriors will not be left short at center in their postseason run. 

"I still feel really good about our roster and the situation at center with Draymond [Green] and Loon [Kevon Looney] and Bjeli [Nemanda Bjelica], JK [Jonathan Kuminga] can play small-ball five, Otto [Porter Jr.] as well," he said. "I feel fine about our depth there." 

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said his team needs to appreciate a decreased margin for error with Stephen Curry injured, after their 110-108 home loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

Curry is in a race to return to the court before the playoffs begin in April, and the Warriors felt his absence, getting out-shot from long range by the 28-44 Spurs, currently 11th in the Western Conference.

The Warriors have been undermanned all season with their big-man stocks as James Wiseman, the second pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, is yet to make his season debut.

Coach Kerr stressed this point, and pointed out that he did not feel like his team brought the requisite intensity before it was too late.

"We have to understand – and I told the guys this at half-time and after the game – that we're undermanned," he said.

"There's 11 games left now, and we're looking at the playoffs, and there's gotta be a sense of urgency. 

"There's gotta be a sense of competitive fight that we take to the other team from the very beginning of the game, and I did not see that until we were really late in the game.

"We were great in that fourth quarter, fighting like crazy, but we need to fight like crazy from the start."

The return of 2020 NBA Draft pick two James Wiseman has been delayed again following more swelling in his right knee.

The 20-year-old center has not played all season for the 47-23 Golden State Warriors due to injury.

Wiseman had returned to action via the G League last week but was held out of practice on Friday and Saturday, with Warriors head coach Steve Kerr revealing a setback.

"We will take a pause and see how the knee responds from there," Kerr told reporters.

The Warriors only have 12 regular-season games prior to the playoffs but will not put a line through Wiseman's season yet, although they are unwilling to offer a timeframe on his return.

"We can't make a decision based on the schedule," Kerr said. "We can't make decisions based on the playoffs. Every decision should be made around James' career and his future."

He added: "I feel terrible for James. I will just keep going back to the fact that he's 20 years old. He's got his whole future ahead. We just have to be really, really cautious. We have to do what is best for him long term."

Klay Thompson never doubted himself after inspiring the Golden State Warriors to a 122-109 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday.

Thompson scored a season-high 38 points – his highest tally in a game since March 2019 – as the Warriors extended their winning run to three matches at Chase Center.

The five-time NBA All-Star landed eight three-pointers, claimed six rebounds and provided five assists in a brilliant performance.

Six of Thompson's field goals came in the second quarter, which is the most he has made in a quarter for over three years.

The three-time NBA champion says he always knew he was capable of conjuring up such inspiring displays, despite what others may have thought.

He said: "Everybody makes a big deal about my shooting, man. I mean, I'm not happy with how I was shooting but I know these nights are within me.

"I just know. I've done too many great things that players haven't done before to doubt myself."

 

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was delighted to see Thompson putting on a show once again.

He said: "I'm sure it's a relief. He's so hard on himself and wants so badly to succeed.

"I thought he just let the game come to him early. He didn't hunt shots. Over the past few games, he's been taking tough ones early, which has kept him from getting into a rhythm.

"Tonight, it felt like he was taking better shots early. ... You know Klay, once a couple go in, the tougher ones get a lot easier for him."

Golden State are third in the Western Conference at 46-22 after getting the better of the defending champions, who are second in the Eastern Conference on 42-26.

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