Warriors pummel Blazers in decisive Game 1
It was like déjà vu.
Golden State’s first game of Round 2, that is, was exactly like that of Round 1. They dominated their competition en route to a 118-106 victory over Portland Sunday afternoon.
Klay Thompson scored 37 points, with five rebounds and five assists, while Draymond Green cruised to his first triple-double of these playoffs, with 23 points, 11 assists and 13 boards. Damian Lillard set the pace for Portland with 30 points, with 20 points coming in the second half.
Ejections were handed out during the third quarter, with Warriors center Anderson Varejao and Blazers guard Gerald Henderson both received technicals on separate occasions, stemming from a play where the two collided during a play, with some contact also occurring after the whistle.
While Varejao ran to help on defense as Blazers guard and Oakland native Damian Lillard drove towards the basket, Henderson was also charging to the rim, possibly to receive the feed.
Varejao and Henderson made contact in the paint, and as Varejao went down, his left leg stuck out enough to contact the calves of Henderson.
As the two got up, they headed right for one another, and both were called for technical fouls. While Varejao was on the bench, Henderson came up and began jaw-jacking, and Varejao played right into it, resulting in two more technical fouls, and ejections.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said he didn’t see the specifics that launched the skirmish of chest bumps and foul words, but heard about it:
“I heard that there was an exchange of chucks and elbows or whatever, that each guy got one in. I don’t know who was first. I thought the officials handled it the right way and then they were jawing at each other on the bench and that’s what Monty kicked them both out.”
Blazers center Ed Davis also was disqualified from the game after receiving his sixth personal foul.
But Green’s triple-double, a feat he often defers as more of a team statistic than a personal accomplishment, was the motor that powered the wheels of winning.
Green started slow, and didn’t hit his first shot until six minutes in, a short range hook shot on his second attempt of the game. His second quarter, though, was different.
Eight points, five rebounds, two blocks, three assists and a steal highlighted the final six minutes of the first half, and came despite Green shooting 20 percent from the field. Six of his points came from the free stripe, with center Mason Plumlee trying hard to keep Green off the glass.
The TrailBlazers’ efforts were rewarded at times, though Golden State’s defensive showing was hotter than ever, and has been elite through the postseason. Portland ran a three-guard look for most of the night and couldn’t shoot efficiently.
Thompson praised the Warriors’ big men:
“The whole year, Steph, our back court, they got a lot of attention, but people don’t realize how good our front court is. It’s the best defensive front court in the NBA and I’ve seen it for a long time.”
Green, Bogut and Varejao combined for seven blocked shots, and four steals, which prevented at least 14 points, and as much as 12 more on the takeaways.
Green said he doesn’t expect poor shooting nights from Portland’s scorers in Game 2, which could get dangerous for Golden State if Plumlee turns around his 0-for-7 performance or if forward Maurice Harkless has a better second outing that his 4-for-12 shooting Sunday.
Portland can also improve their ball movement, which is an adjustment Golden State will likely plan for.
Golden State faces the Blazers for Game 2 Tuesday evening at Oracle.