Even as the Warriors on Saturday rolled to a 104-78 Game 1 victory in their first-round playoff series against the Rockets, they couldn’t enjoy their work as much as they would have like.
Star guard Stephen Curry tweaked his right ankle in the second quarter, and left soon after to get it re-taped. He returned after halftime before taking a seat after three minutes.
Curry scored 24 points before his teammates were left to finish off what he started. They did exactly that. The Warriors led by 26 when he left and they won by 26.
Klay Thompson scored 16 points and Draymond Green and Marreese Speights each put in 12.
The Warriors utilized terrific defense, limiting Houston to 35.7 percent shooting from the field and forcing 24 turnovers that led to 33 points.
The Warriors also received tremendous support from their bench, led by Speights, outscoring those of the Rockets 43-33.
James Harden scored 17 points to lead Houston, while Dwight Howard added 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Curry was brilliant and the Warriors only hope that doesn’t go away after the ankle tweak.
Curry’s line: 24 points (8-of-13 shooting, 5-of-7 from beyond the arc), seven rebounds, three steals and two assists. He played slightly less than 20 minutes and finished plus-28.
After a Michael Beasley jumper pulled the Rockets within five (11-6) with 6:02 left in the first quarter, the Warriors closed the quarter on a 22-9 run that resulted in a 33-15 lead.
The crucial stretch came early, ignited by Rockets guard Patrick Beverley, who got so physical with Curry that they ended up in a brief skirmish, resulting in both being slapped with technical fouls.
An inspired Curry scored 16 points in the opening quarter, one more than was scored by Houston.
Warriors: F Kevon Looney (R hip inflammation) and James Michael McAdoo (healthy) were placed on the single-game inactive list.
Rockets: F Sam Dekker (back tightness) and Terrence Jones (healthy) were placed on the single-game inactive list.
The teams reconvene Monday night for Game 2 at Oracle Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:40 p.m.