Durant shines in Warriors playoff debut in Game 1 win
Durant shines in Warriors playoff debut in Game 1 win
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
18 April, 2017, 03:04
The Golden State Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers played a heck of an opening playoff game for a first-round matchup between the No. 1 and No. 8 seeds.
Nurkic arrived at Oracle Arena on Sunday and made his way directly to the Blazers' locker room.
But he was part of a 135-90 debacle on December 17 here the Warriors' largest margin of victory in the rivalry that prompted coach Terry Stotts to say afterward, "It's embarrassing to get beat by 45".
"Well, when you get that block at the apex of the rim, of the player's elevation and he's right at the rim, you get a block like that, it energized everybody", Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.
"I mean, he played a game that I'm not sure anybody else in the league is capable of, honestly", Kerr said. McGee and Clark provided sparks off the bench.
Remember: That's the same Draymond Green who was suspended by the National Basketball Association for Game 5 of last year's Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The defensive intensity turned up in the fourth quarter.
All of those emotions came out when Green made those plays - and virtually any other throughout the game.
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Colton Sissons battled his way to the front of the net and took advantage of a rebound chance off a shot from Pontus Aberg. They have traditionally been an excellent road team. they should be confident... and the Predators need to remain wary.
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But their 24th-ranked defense failed to contain a Warriors attack that was out-of-sync for large swaths of the second and third quarter. Just like teams playing defense need to be aware of where Curry is at all times, Portland needs to be aware of Green playing free safety and be prepared to make the extra pass out of the lane when penetrating. His blocks had the added benefit of triggering the Warriors' breaks, allowing them to shake off some of the lethargy that had settled over their game. Up to the beginning f the fourth quarter, they looked to be on autopilot, coughing up unnecessary turnovers on overzealous transition attempts, and Curry jacking up unnecessary hero treys, which is why, in classic Warriors fashion, the game never felt like it was out of their hands.
Game 2 is on Wednesday, April 19, at 7:30 p.m., PST, at the Oracle.
"The game ratchets up when you get into the playoffs", Durant said. Once McCollum got rolling, he started hitting harder and harder shots.
Not only was he able close out on Lillard, cutting off his drive, he recovers all the way into the paint to emphatically block a Noah Vonleh dunk above the rim.
Portland's gameplan was pretty simple: let C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard cook.
Curry chipped in with 29 points, including three 3-pointers, while Green had a productive all-around game with 19 points to go with game highs in rebounds (12), assists (nine), blocked shots (five) and steals (three). So, when Stotts said in his postgame presser that Durant gives the Warriors "a different dimension than a year ago", you know he understands what he's talking about.
The Warriors also got good production from several punch guys. Even though the playoffs are a different animal and we've seen some fantastic performances over the years, Portland probably can't count on 75 a night from Lillard and McCollum. As Stotts said, "I don't think it's demoralizing that we competed extremely well for three quarters". But at some point we knew that we had to make a defensive stand and that we would get some stops.
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SC made the first shot and appeared to intentionally miss the second one in an attempt to get the rebound with a chance to tie. In fact, the Zags pulled ahead of SC even further, thanks to terrific play from Nigel Williams-Goss.
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