The Golden State Warriors dominated the opening game of the Western Conference finals beating Portland Trail Blazers 116-94 at the Oracle Arena. The Splash Brothers – Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson – led the way for the reigning champions with 36 and 26 points respectively.
The Warriors were the favorites going into the game despite the absence of Kevin Durant, who is out with a right calf strain. It was neck and neck going into the first half, but Curry’s back to back three-pointers in the final seconds ensured they took a nine point lead going into the interval.
Thompson stepped up his game in the final quarter and ensured the Warriors ran out comfortable winners. The duo was ably backed up by Draymond Green, who had 12 points but more importantly had 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks and 3 steals.
Steve Kerr was impressed with his team’s defensive game on the night and admitted that they are well aware of the Trail Blazers’ back court strength. But the head coach also pointed toward his team getting more preparation time than their opponents playing a part in the outcome of the game.
“We are well aware of what they are capable of so we are paying a lot of attention to them just trying to stay all over them if we can and not give up anything easy. Our defense was good but I also thought we benefitted from the schedule,” Kerr told reporters in his post-match press conference.
“We were able to finish our last series on Friday and they had to go to a tough Game 7 in Denver and a quick turnaround and the schedule favored us. But I thought we took advantage of the situation and got off to a good start,” the Warriors head coach added.
The Warriors were without Durant and DeMarcus Cousins for Game 1 but welcomed back Damian Jones, who has not played since December after undergoing surgery for a torn pectoral muscle. The 23-year-old center came on in the final minutes and recorded three points and one rebound in two minutes.