Golden State took a 1-0 series lead in the Western Conference Finals with Tuesday’s 116-94 victory.
The Western Conference Finals began on Tuesday night in Oakland, and the Dubs held it down on Warriors Ground. Stephen Curry led the Dubs with 36 points, 27 of which came from beyond the arc. With those nine three-pointers, he tied his postseason career high, previously set in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals vs. Cleveland on June 3, 2018.
|Curry – 36||Green – 10||Curry – 7|
|Thompson – 26||Curry – 6||Green / Iguodala – 5|
|Green – 12||Jerebko – 5||Bell / Thompson – 3|
|Lillard – 19||Kanter – 16||Lillard – 6|
|Harkless / McCollum / Hood – 17||Aminu / Turner – 5||Turner – 4|
|Kanter – 10||Lillard / Harkless / Collins – 4||Kanter – 3|
After the Dubs got several contributions from the bench in their series-clinching win in Houston on Friday, the reserves once again provided some valuable minutes. Five of the six Warriors reserves who played in the first half scored a bucket, and Jonas Jerebko was in the middle of a lot of that bench action for the Dubs. After Portland cut their deficit to two points in the opening minutes of the second period, Jerebko knocked down a 3-pointer from the wing, the start of a stretch in which he had seven of the team’s 10 points, the last of which pushed their lead to 10 points.
That marked the Dubs’ largest advantage of the game to that point, but Portland managed to hang around despite committing 13 turnovers and shooting just 32.6 percent from the floor in the first half. The Trail Blazers, however, were a perfect 14-for-14 from the free throw line at the break, outscoring the Dubs by 11 points from the charity stripe in the first half.
Those free throws helped cut that double-digit deficit down to four, but a mini-Curry flurry added some cushion for the Dubs. The two-time NBA MVP showed off his handle on a drive to the basket and then knocked down a couple of 3-pointers, scoring the team’s last eight points of the second quarter to finish out a 19-point half, sending the Dubs to the break with a 54-45 advantage.
The contest remained close coming out of the locker room, and it took a few minutes for the squad to settle back into a groove. Though Dub Nation didn’t see the third quarter Dubs, they were treated to a little splash party to close-out the contest.
Kerr opened the fourth frame with Thompson, Jerebko, Shaun Livingston, Quinn Cook and Jordan Bell on the floor. Cook knocked down a three, then the Dubs started rolling. The group was plus-five in first 3:27 of the quarter, and in what felt link a blink the Dubs were up 90-79 with just over eight minutes left to play.
Not long after that, Draymond Green joined in on the three-point fun and had the entire crowd on their feet. That wasn’t all though; Kevon Looney has continued to be a reliable reserve for the Dubs. He only notched six points in this contest, but the energy with which he drove to the basket on each possession was contagious. Ultimately, Portland couldn’t find the edge it needed to cut through the good vibes flowing in Oracle Arena.
The series continues on Warriors Ground Thursday night. Game 2, presented by Google Nest, tips off at 6:00 p.m. (Pacific). Join us for all the action; secure your seats here.