Free-scoring Warriors blast Blazers off trail

Stephen Curry giving his Warriors team-mate Draymond Green a high-five after sinking one of his seven three-pointers against the Trail Blazers. Golden State swept Portland 4-0 to become the first team to reach the second round of the play-offs.
Stephen Curry giving his Warriors team-mate Draymond Green a high-five after sinking one of his seven three-pointers against the Trail Blazers. Golden State swept Portland 4-0 to become the first team to reach the second round of the play-offs.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Golden State display championship pedigree to reach conference s-finals

PORTLAND (Oregon) • The Golden State Warriors punched their ticket to the second round of the National Basketball Association (NBA) play-offs in emphatic style on Monday, dominating from the opening tip in a 128-103 rout of the Portland Trail Blazers at the Moda Centre.

Stephen Curry scored 37 points with eight assists and seven rebounds before sitting out the fourth quarter as the Warriors wrapped up a four-game sweep of the best-of-seven Western Conference first-round series.

The Warriors' 45 first-quarter points tied the NBA record for the most points scored in the opening period of a play-off game.

"There was a sense of urgency," said Curry, who made 12 of 20 shots from the field, including seven of 11 from three-point range. "There was a nice energy to us before the game. We were kind of loose but focused. It showed in the first six minutes, and we never let up."

Kevin Durant, sidelined for the past two games with a left calf injury, scored 10 points in 20 minutes on the floor and Draymond Green added 21.

The Warriors scored the first 14 points of the game and were up 28-5 six minutes into the contest.

  • 45 

    The Warriors joined the 1985 Lakers, 1986 Mavericks and 2015 Rockets as the only teams to have scored a record 45 points in the first quarter of a post-season game.

"Indescribable," Portland coach Terry Stotts said of the Warriors' start. "They came out energised, focused. We were slow to react and couldn't get it going."

Durant got things rolling with a three-pointer and followed up with a transition dunk, quickly allaying any fears his calf might still be troubling him.

"That was unbelievable," Mike Brown, standing in as Warriors head coach as Steve Kerr battles recurring symptoms related to his back surgery two years ago, said of the first quarter.

"Everything we did we tried to do at a high level, and it worked," Brown added. "It was fun to watch and fun to be a part of."

Damian Lillard scored 34 points for the Trail Blazers, but it was really no contest against a Warriors team trying to reach the NBA Finals for a third straight year and regain the crown they surrendered last season to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"(The Warriors) showed their championship pedigree tonight," Lillard said. "When you can't sustain your mental focus against them, in five minutes you can be down 25 points."

Curry said the performance should be a blueprint for the rest of the play-offs.

"The way we played tonight on both ends of the floor is a great recipe for success down the road: moving the ball, swarming on defence, turning defence into easy offence and using all the talent that we have on the floor."

In the next round the Warriors will face either the Los Angeles Clippers or Utah Jazz, whose series are knotted at two games apiece.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 26, 2017, with the headline 'Free-scoring Warriors blast Blazers off trail'. Print Edition | Subscribe