Golden State was firing on all cylinders and Portland looked exhausted from their seven game series with Denver as we watched Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals at Oracle Arena.
Golden State Warriors (1-0) v Portland Trailblazers (0-1): 116 to 94
Fair to say that the first round of the long awaited Portland Western Conference Final revival did not go as planned.
Damian Lillard was kept to 4-12 and CJ McCollum 7-19 as the Warriors reminded us why they are clear favourites for this series.
So how did Golden State win? Besides a phenomenal night from Steph Curry, who benefited from the poor switch defence from Portland (I’m looking at you Can’t Play Kanter) and his 9-15 from 3 night (with 36 points and 7 assists), the Golden State Defence was great.
They had 13 steals, including three from none other than Kevon Looney (who was just insane on the defensive end once again). They had 8 blocks and every play you thought that Golden State was going to shut them down. They played double teams on Kanter and Lillard on defence and the Blazers couldn’t capitalize. Draymond Green destroyed Kanter on isolation plays holding him (with the help of Looney and Bogut) to 4-9.
Iggy’s numbers showed a quiet offensive night but again he was huge on the defensive end. Klay although a bit less efficient than usual on offense (10-24 with 26 points) had three steals and two blocks. The Warriors played with the fire that we saw in Game 5 and Game 6 against Houston and it is terrifying. They had at least 11 players playing double digit minutes, with a vital 3-3 from Jerebko in the third.
Golden State were cruising.
Portland however were in a world of problems. They were clearly tired after Game 7 and rightly so, but they often fell behind on transition defence, and couldn’t get past the Warrior defence.
Granted Mo Harkless had a great game (Finally) with 17 points from 7-12 shooting and three blocks, and having a healthy Hood definitely helps (17 points), but the score line does not show the true story of this game.
Portland only stayed in it because they got to the line 31 times (hitting 27) opposed to the 18 by Golden State. They shot 36% from the field and 22% from three opposed to 52% and 50% for Golden State.
Portland will have to change their defensive structure and need a much bigger game from Lillard to win in a game in this series.
Also it would be remiss of me not to speak about round one of the Curry-Bowl. Steph v Seth, brother v brother, mono el mono.
Obviously Steph won round won: 9-15 from three and 33 points with 7 rebounds and 6 steals meanwhile Seth had a game he would prefer to forget. Despite a huge block and a couple of steals, Seth had 3 points off 1-7 and 1-4 from three. He was a minus ten for the game.
The Result: Steph 1, Seth 0.
Next Game @ Warriors: Friday (17/5) at 11am.