Stephen Ellison

Durant, Warriors Ground Rockets in Game 1 of Conference Finals

HOUSTON -- The Houston Rockets took six months to earn homecourt advantage, and the Warriors needed only 48 minutes to take it away.

With Kevin Durant scoring a team-high 37 points, the defending champions strolled out of Toyota Center Monday night with a 119-106 victory to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference Finals.

Klay Thompson put in 28 points, Stephen Curry totaled 18 and Andre Iguodala added 11 as the Warriors overcame a 41-point effort from Houston star James Harden.

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As good as Harden was, the rest of the Rockets were contained, limited to 41-percent shooting by a Warriors defense that got stingier as the game went on.

STANDOUT PERFORMER: Durant carried the offensive water, pulled the scoring wagon and probably would have dropped off buckets to needy children.

Durant’s line: 37 points (14-of-27 from the field, including 3-of-6 from deep, 6-of-6 from the line), three rebounds, one assist and one block. He played 40 minutes and finished plus-11 for the game.

TURNING POINT: After an Eric Gordon layup pulled the Rockets within three, 73-70, with 6:36 left in the third quarter, the Warriors responded with a 12-2, taking an 85-72 lead on a Durant jumper with 2:23 remaining in the quarter.

The Warriors took an 87-80 lead into the fourth quarter, pushing the lead as high as 14. Houston drew no closer than seven over the final nine minutes.

INJURY UPDATE: Warriors: G Pat McCaw (lumbar spine contusion) is listed as out.

Rockets: No injuries reported.

WHAT’S NEXT: Game 2 is scheduled for Wednesday night at Toyota Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.

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