The Splash Brothers are back. Kevin Durant’s injury set off the alarm among the Warriors fans, but it turned out to be unnecessary.
Why? Because they have the duo which already knows how to win a title and is eager to remind everyone about that.
The Warriors defeated Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals with 116-94 and convincingly opened the series.
The home team was ahead from the start until the end, not allowing the Trail Blazers to be in the position to endanger their advantage and the final score. In general, nothing changed compared to their matches with KD in the starting lineup.
All his points were equally shared among the rest of the team, with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson stepping up and taking the bigger part of them.
Curry dropped 36 tonight, having 9 threes in 15 attempts. The two-time MVP also had 7 assists and 6 boards in 35 minutes on the floor.
“I know what I’m capable of on the floor. The situation calls for me to be a little bit more aggressive and hopefully that’ll continue,” said Curry referring to the situation with Durant’s injury.
Klay Thomson had 26 buckets, a couple of very important in the final period, when the Warriors outscored the guests 39-23 and sealed the match. The Trail Blazers managed to come down to only nine points with 5:02 following Lillard’s three, but Klay’s five straight points stopped that run and took away the momentum from the Blazers.
After the match, Thomspon was thrilled because he dunked once during the game. We all know that Klay is not such a great leaper, and precisely because of that he explained to Scott Van Pelt from Sports Center that he is always happy when he manages to dunk.
“I just get so happy when I get a dunk man, that is a rare occurrence. Tonight I got one, I looked up to my family, and I was pumped,” Thompson said. “Hopefully I can get more attempts like that throughout the series, because that makes me happy.”
Meanwhile, on the other side, the Trail Blazers were not in the same mood as Klay. They were looking deflated on the court, without any of the magic they used to produce against the Thunder or the Nuggets.
The reason for that according to Steve Kerr is the schedule, which was on the Warriors’ side. His team had more time to prepare and to rest before this matchup.
“They had to go to a tough Game 7 in Denver and a quick turnaround….they didn’t have a whole lot of time to prepare,” Kerr said about the fact that Blazers couldn’t handle GSW’s offense very well, especially Steph.
Opposite to that, his players were doing an excellent job on stopping Portland’s duo Lillard-McCollum. These two guys scored 36 points combined, shooting 11 of 31 from the field, and had 10 turnovers combined. Lillard had an awful night with 19 points and only 4 hits in 12 tries. Dame also handed the ball to his rivals seven times.
McCollum spoke about that, saying that his team played one of the worst games in the entire playoffs, and yet they felt like they had a chance to stun the champs.
“I think we played a terrible game and we still had a chance going into the fourth quarter,” said McCollum who ended the night with 17 buckets.
Enes Kanter posted a double-double with 10 points and 16 boards. Mo Harkless and Rodney Hood added 17 points apiece.
Unlike the guests who had five players with a double-digit number of points, hosts had only Draymond Green besides Steph and Klay with that kind of productivity. Green ended the night with 12 points and 10 boards. But there was one other thing. All but one of the Warriors’ players scored. And they had six players off the bench who played more than 10 minutes.
Plus they hit 17 threes in 33 attempts, unlike the Blazers who had 7 of 28 from deep.
Game 2 is this Thursday at 7 p.m. local time in Oakland.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write, read, and bet on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a betting tips writer at WagerBop.