Curry, Warriors power past Trail Blazers in West final opener

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Stephen Curry made nine 3-pointers and scored 36 points, and the Golden State Warriors beat the Portland Trail Blazers 116-94 on Tuesday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals while playing without injured star Kevin Durant once again.

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Curry shot 12 for 23 in his fourth 30-point performance this post-season, finding far more open looks than he had in the last round against Houston. The two-time NBA MVP outplayed the Portland duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, who combined to go 11 for 31 facing a strong Golden State defence.

Klay Thompson had 26 points, including a late one-handed slam. Draymond Green established the energy on both ends early for the well-rested Warriors and finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, three blocks and two steals.

Lillard scored 19 points back home in Oakland, just miles away from where he grew up. McCollum had 17 and missed five of his six 3s as the cold-shooting Blazers went just 7 for 28 from long range.

Game 2 is Thursday night, and the Warriors are unlikely to have two-time reigning NBA Finals MVP Durant back from a strained right calf. An update on Durant’s status is expected that day once he is re-examined.

Curry matched his post-season career high for 3s, also accomplished in Game 1 of last year’s finals against Cleveland. He found his groove far earlier than in the Game 6 clincher at Houston on Friday night, when he scored all 33 of his points in the second half.

Little brother Seth struggled with three points for Portland, which shot 36.1% overall.

Lillard hit a game-winning 3-pointer with 6.3 seconds remaining in overtime Dec. 27 in his last regular-season game at Oracle Arena. He averaged 28.3 points and 6.5 assists in four regular-season games against Golden State this season.

He arrived for Game 1 in a custom Oakland Athletics baseball jersey having averaged 30 points in his nine previous playoff matchups against the Warriors.

Green has at least 10 rebounds in six straight playoff games, matching his post-season career-best streak of six also done last year.

The teams combined for 11 turnovers in the opening quarter.

Golden State began its fifth straight Western Conference finals, joining the Lakers are the only other team to do so.

The Warriors won their previous two post-season series with Portland, both over the past three seasons. They had a four-game sweep in the first round in 2017 during a remarkable 16-1 run to the title and a five-game Western Conference semifinal series the previous year.

“The Warriors were a special team that year that they swept us,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said.

https://www.cbc.ca/sports/basketball/nba/portland-trail-blazers-golden-state-warriors-1.5136408?cmp=rss