OAKLAND – Riding terrific 3-point shooting and solid perimeter defense, the Warriors carved out a 116-94 victory over the Trail Blazers Tuesday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.
With Stephen Curry pouring in nine triples to lead the way, the Warriors shot 51.5 percent (17-of-33) beyond the arc – better than their 49-percent shooting on 2-point attempts.
Meanwhile, they limited Portland to 25 percent (7-of-28) from deep and 36.1 percent overall.
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Here are three takeaways from Game 1:
The Backcourts, Pt. I: The battle of the backcourts is the most compelling aspect of this series, and it was not close in Game 1. The Warriors were decisive winners – thanks mostly to the brilliance of Curry.
Curry scored a game-high 36 points on 12-of-23 shooting from the field, including 9-of-15 from beyond the arc. He played 36 minutes and was plus-10.
So magnificent was Curry that it didn’t matter that Klay Thompson, again eager to launch, didn’t find a rhythm until late. Shooting 6-of-19 through three quarters, he finished with 26 points on 10-of-24 shooting, including 3-of-9 from deep.
Damian Lillard, the Oakland native and Portland’s scoring leader, tallied 19 points, taking only 12 shots and making four. His skilled sidekick, CJ McCollum, coming off a 37-point outburst, put in 17 points on 7-of-19 shooting from the field,
Though the Warriors crowded Lillard at every opportunity, expect him to be more aggressive as this series moves forward.
It took a while for both teams to pick up the pace: For a game of such significance, there was not a lot of fizz to the proceedings in the early going. The Warriors looked only partially engaged. The Blazers looked, well, tired.
Perhaps that’s to be expected. Both teams were coming off an emotional series in the previous round, the Warriors against enemy Houston four days earlier and Portland was only two days removed from a Game 7 victory over the Nuggets in Denver.
The Blazers committed 13 turnovers in the first half and 21 for the game. The vast majority were of the live-ball variety, allowing the Warriors turned those giveaways into 31 points.
The energy level, much to the delight of the3 sellout crowd at Oracle Arena, picked up after halftime. Maybe it will be there from the opening tip when the teams meet Thursday at Oracle for Game 2.
A matter of fouls: The Warriors went to sleep Tuesday night to the sound of whistles. Might even wake up Wednesday morning to that same sound.
The officiating crew – Marc Davis, Tony Brothers and Tony Brown – stung the Warriors for 24 fouls. Every starter except Andre Iguodala had at least three, with Draymond Green tagged five times.
The Blazers were whistled for 16 fouls.
The result was a disparity in free throws, with Portland going 27-of-31 from the line and the Warriors finishing 14-of-17.