Curry powers Warriors over Blazers in series opener
Los Angeles (AFP) –
Stephen Curry drained nine three-pointers on the way to 36 points Tuesday to propel the Golden State Warriors to a 116-94 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in game one of the NBA Western Conference finals.
Curry added seven assists and six rebounds as the Warriors led all the way over a Trail Blazers team coming off a game-seven victory over Denver in the second round on Sunday.
Klay Thompson added 26 points and provided an imposing defensive presence as the Warriors shrugged off the absence of injured superstar Kevin Durant.
Draymond Green added 12 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, two steals and three blocked shots for the two-time defending NBA champions, who are playing in their fifth straight Western Conference final.
The Trail Blazers connected on just 36.1 percent of their shots from the field, making just seven of 28 three-point attempts as the Warriors drained 17 from beyond the arc.
Portland star Damian Lillard hit just four of 12 shots to score 19 points with six assists, four rebounds and seven turnovers.
CJ McCollum, who starred as Lillard struggled in game seven against the Nuggets, scored 17 points on seven-of-19 shooting.
"The schedule favored us," acknowledged Golden State coach Steve Kerr, whose Warriors polished off the Houston Rockets on Friday.
"I thought we took advantage of the situation and got off to a good start."
The Warriors pushed their lead to 10 in the second quarter before Portland put together a run that trimmed the deficit to 48-45.
Curry answered with a pair of late three-pointers -- abetted by a Lillard turnover - to send the Warriors to the locker-room leading 54-45.
The Trail Blazers made another push in the third period, cutting a 17-point deficit to six, but the Warriors reserves opened strong in the fourth quarter to rebuild the cushion in a stretch that Kerr called key.
The Warriors will try to double their advantage in the best-of-seven series when they host game two on Thursday. They are again expected to be without two-time NBA Finals MVP Durant, who has a right calf strain.
? 2019 AFP