Warriors flow without durant

Klay Thompson watching his shot come good in the second half of the Western Conference Finals opener against the Portland Trail Blazers. Defending champions Golden State Warriors' superior shooting from distance dulled Portland's challenge. PHOTO: AG
Klay Thompson watching his shot come good in the second half of the Western Conference Finals opener against the Portland Trail Blazers. Defending champions Golden State Warriors' superior shooting from distance dulled Portland's challenge. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Injured forward not missed as Golden State douse Portland's blaze with rain of threes

OAKLAND (California) • At times, the Golden State Warriors had moments of brilliance. At other times, they showed apathy.

In other words, this felt like a National Basketball Association regular-season game.

It was not, though. It was Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.

The Warriors prevailed with a 116-94 home win over the Portland Trail Blazers at the Oracle Arena on Tuesday night.

They emulated the intensity they had in a competitive six-game semi-final series against the Houston Rockets. Then they played as if this game took place in December.

But with their quality, that was fine and star point guard Stephen Curry believes that they were clinical when it most mattered.

"It was a nice flow," he said of his team's attacking play. "It just puts so much pressure on the defence.

"It's fun when everyone's running around, cutting, and we're whipping the ball around. That's when we're at our best."

  • +30

  • Points advantage, 51-21, that Golden State had over Portland from three-point range.

Curry and Klay Thompson dominated their highly anticipated match-up with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, combining for 12 three-pointers and 62 points.

Curry finished with a game-high 36 points, equalling a post-season career-high nine three-pointers as Thompson added 26 for the Warriors, who won a second straight game without injured forward Kevin Durant.

Even back-up Quinn Cook (eight points) got into the long-range act, mixing in two timely treys to quell the Trail Blazers' last threat, pushing Golden State a game up on a team they dominated 4-1 and 4-0 in the 2016 and 2017 play-offs.

"That was very poor (defensive) execution," said Lillard, who had a team-high 19 points for Portland.

"They were setting solid screens and coming off shooting practice shots. That's the last thing we need if we want to have any chance to beat this team."

McCollum added 17 points for the Trail Blazers, who were facing a fresh team that had enjoyed three days off after eliminating the Rockets on the road on Friday night.

"They had to go to a tough Game 7 in Denver (on Sunday) and a quick turnaround, so the schedule favoured us," Warriors coach Steve Kerr admitted. "I thought we took advantage of the situation."

Their lead was just 79-73 before Cook hit two three-pointers to help Golden State go back up by 14 with 7min 31sec to go.

In the end, the difference in points from three-pointers made, 51-21, proved too much for the visitors to overcome.

"The key stretch for us was the first five minutes of the fourth quarter," Kerr added. "Our bench came in, did a fantastic job getting the lead back up to about 12 or so before we went back to our starters."

Draymond Green chipped in with a team-high 10 rebounds to go with 12 points for the Warriors, who shot 50 per cent from the field and 51.5 per cent (17 for 33) on threes.

Portland were limited to 36.1 per cent shooting overall and 25 per cent (7-for-28) from three-point range. They also hurt themselves with 21 turnovers.

"When you turn the ball over and you don't shoot the ball well and don't finish..." Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts lamented. "It was a tough night offensively."

Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is scheduled for tonight (tomorrow, Singapore time) in Oakland.

The Milwaukee Bucks will host the opener of the Eastern Conference Finals (today, Singapore time) against the Toronto Raptors.

DPA, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 16, 2019, with the headline 'Warriors flow without durant'. Print Edition | Subscribe