The Golden State Warriors won their second straight game without Kevin Durant in the starting lineup on Tuesday night. Stephen Curry scored 36 points ,with 7 assists and 6 rebounds to help the Warriors to the 116-94 win over the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.
With both teams coming off of huge road wins to close out their previous series, Game 1 lacked some ferver. However, Curry exploded to make 9 of 15 3-pointers to ignite the Warriors late in the second quarter. He continued with a 14-point third quarter. Yet, the Trail Blazers were only down six points heading into the final period.
Once again, the bench and Klay Thompson helped the Warriors cruise down the stretch. Thompson finished the game with 26 points on 10 of 24 shooting, including a few daggers in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, Quinn Cook (8 points) and Jonas Jerebko (9 points) helped seal the deal with 17 combined points off the bench. They began the fourth quarter with a flurry to extend the lead to double figures. In all, the Warriors excelled with 36 bench points in Game 1.
Moreover, the Trail Blazers ran into a tough defense all night. Damian Lillard led the Blazers with 19 points. However, he only shot 4 of 12 from the field. After coming off of a grueling Game 7 performance in Denver, Lillard appeared to be listless at times. He committed seven turnovers in Game 1. However, Lillard still made all of his foul shots. It was telling that Lillard only attempted five 3-pointers on Tuesday. That should change in Game 2.
Meanwhile, C.J. McCollum opened the series with the first two points of the game. He finished with 17 points on 7 of 19 shooting. Maurice Harkless also scored 17 points with a plethora of open shots around the rim. Enes Kanter scored 10 points and grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds in the loss. The Trail Blazers also received 17 points from Rodney Hood off the bench. It will be interesting to see if they put Hood or Zach Collins in the starting lineup before the series is over.
The Warriors shot 50 percent from the field with uncontested shots coming on the regular. The Trail Blazers were not nearly as fortunate. They only converted 36 percent of their field goal attempts in the loss. One reason for the close game with 10 minutes left in the contest was the foul line disparity. The Trail Blazers made 27 of 31 free throws, while the Warriors were 15 of 18 from the foul line.
However, the Warriors outscored the Trail Blazers by 30 points at the 3-point line. The Warriors shot 17 of 33 from the 3-point line. The Blazers were only 7 of 28 from beyond the arc. The Trail Blazers also remained in the game due to offensive rebounding. They gathered 16 offensive rebounds and won the rebounding margin by five.
In the end, the player and ball movement was too much for the Blazers in Game 1. As a result, the Warriors dished out 30 assists. In addition to Curry’s 7 assists, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala each finished with 5 assists apiece.