At times, the Warriors had moments of brilliance. At other times, they showed apathy. In other words, this felt like a regular-season game.
It wasn’t, though. It was Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. The Warriors still prevailed with a 116-94 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday at Oracle Arena. At times, the Warriors emulated the intensity they had in a competitive six-game playoff series against the Houston Rockets. At other times, the Warriors played as if this game took place in December.
The Warriors being the Warriors, that was just fine.
Stephen Curry finished with 36 points while going 12-of-23 from the field and tying a post-season career high 9-of-15 from 3. That gave him bragging rights against another established All-Star point guard in Damian Lillard 19 points on 4-of-12 shooting). It also gave Curry bragging rights against his younger brother, Seth, who had only three points on a 1-of-7 clip. Just like they did in an elevated role in a decisive Game 6 against Houston, the Warriors’ bench took advantage of a bigger role with 36 points. Just as he did throughout his NBA career, Draymond Green offered a blend of points (12), rebounds (10), playmaking (five assists) and defense. The Warriors also held Portland guard C.J. McCollum to 17 points on a 7-of-19 mark from the field.
Still, the Warriors struggled maintaining their 17-point lead. The Trail Blazers outrebounded the Warriors, 47-42. Klay Thompson had 26 points while going 10-of-24 from the field. Portland went 27-of-31 from the free-throw line, while the Warriors only had 18 attempts. The Warriors obviously missed Kevin Durant, who missed his second consecutive game because of a strained right calf.
The Warriors had plenty of depth, though, to stem any of Portland’s efforts to steal Game 1. The Trail Blazers only led once in the game by as many as five points. Otherwise, the Warriors appeared more than ready in handling Portland in Game 1. It appears the Warriors will be just fine entering Game 2 on Thursday, the same day they will reevaluate Durant. The early returns suggest the Warriors can wait patiently for him.