Golden statement made

Warriors beat Portland without star Curry, who could return from injury this weekend

OAKLAND (California) • The Golden State Warriors may see Stephen Curry back on the court for Game 3 of the National Basketball Association Western Conference semi-final series against the Portland Trail Blazers, which is scheduled for Saturday.

Curry missed Sunday's series opener - which the Warriors won 118-106 - with a sprained ligament in his right knee, and coach Steve Kerr said there is a "pretty slim" chance that he would be able to play in Game 2 tonight (tomorrow morning, Singapore time).

However, Game 3 could give the league's reigning Most Valuable Player a chance to further his rehabilitation and test the knee in five-on-five scrimmages.

"We'll just monitor him and see how it goes and hopefully get him back at some point," Kerr said. "It's nice to have that long break between Games 2 and 3."

For now, though, Curry's team-mates are holding the fort effectively against the Trail Blazers. Klay Thompson poured in 37 points - his 18 first-quarter points out-scoring the entire Blazers' 17 - and Draymond Green notched the first post-season triple-double of his career (23 points, 13 rebounds, 11 assists) as the champions leapt to a quick lead and never looked back.


Guard Klay Thompson (left) scores a basket while drawing a foul from Portland’s Ed Davis in Golden State’s Western Conference semi-final Game 1 win on Sunday. The champions have won their last two games without star Stephen Curry. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Australian centre Andrew Bogut also delivered a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds, as did Harrison Barnes. Shaun Livingston, starting in place of Curry, chipped in 12 points and six assists.

Said Kerr: "Our guys have an understanding of how we have to play without Steph."

The Blazers' high-scoring backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum made just 13 of 43 field goal attempts, but Green insisted that his team-mates will not expect the duo to struggle every game.

"We know they're not going to have games like this every night," he said. "But if we can make them take tough shots... we think they'll wear down throughout the course of the series."

In the Eastern Conference, the higher seeds in two of the first-round series finally advanced after clinching their decisive Game 7s on their home ground.

In Toronto, DeMar DeRozan broke out of his play-off slump in a big way, scoring 30 points as the Raptors held off the Indian Pacers 89-84.

It was Toronto's first Game 7 win in franchise history, as well as their first post-season series triumph since 2001, ending the longest active drought between play-off series wins.

"I think everybody wrote the Raptors off and gave us up for dead," coach Dwane Casey said of the reaction to the Raptors' failure to close out the series in Game 6. "But that locker room is full of fighters and scrappers."

In Miami, Goran Dragic scored a game-high 25 points as the Heat routed the Charlotte Hornets 106-73.

Luol Deng added 15 points, Dwyane Wade scored 12 points and Hassan Whiteside produced 10 points for the Heat, who had trailed 2-3 in the series.

"I'm not a prophet, but I knew we were winning this game," Wade said. "This team has had opportunities all season to cave and every time when we have been in that situation we have somehow prevailed."

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 03, 2016, with the headline 'Golden statement made'. Print Edition | Subscribe