Durant, Warriors Pull Away To Beat Blazers In Game 1
- Author: Julie Sanders Apr 19, 2017,
Apr 19, 2017, 0:09
Kevin Durant had 32 points, 10 rebounds, and two assists and Draymond Green had 19 points, 12 rebounds, and nine assists to give the Golden State Warriors a 109-121 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in the first game of Round 1. And the stats: 19 points while making six of 10 shots, 12 rebounds, nine assists, five blocks and three steals, a stack of stats no one had reached in playoff history since blocks and steals were first recorded in 1973-74. While neither team will rely on their bench for much given the shortened rotation in the playoffs, Portland will have to get better performances from those backups for Lillard and McCollum to have a chance at steering their squad to victory.
No two plays demonstrated Green's impact more than the block on Lillard, which sent away Portland's All-Star, and a similar at-the-rim rejection of Blazers big man Noah Vonleh in the third quarter.
Obviously we don't want this to escalate into any kind of physical altercation (or a serious one, rather). Well, it matters, but it just won't stop the Blazers from playing with enormous confidence.
Damian Lillard typically brings his best when he comes home to the East Bay to take on the Warriors, and he fully expects to win this series. The Trailblazers high scorers were guards C.J. McCollum with a game-high 41 points and Damian Lillard with 34. McCollum was especially impressive, hitting shots from a variety of angles and against converging closeouts. Klay Thompson started somnambulant, both offensively and defensively. Although Kevin Durant looked wholly healthy coming off his return to action, he lessened his aggression in the second quarter. Curry was 8-of-8 from the free-throw line and 3-of-8 from beyond the arc. Perhaps, for all of Lillard's confidence and for all of his and McCollum's brilliance, this speaks to the gap between the teams as nothing else does. But when it comes down to it, the Warriors have a gear on defense that most teams can not match and that is all because of the heart and passion of Draymond Green. "And also, KD was going really well in the third quarter". The reality is that McGee, for all his pratfalls, changes the game when he's on. "You're not playing for anything so you're just out there trying to get through".
He says: "I'm not 100 percent". He was huge on those ball screens. "That's totally the expectation but you've got to be careful with this stuff, too". The two teams were tied 88-88 heading into the fourth quarter. Both CJ and Dame have proved all year that they can keep up offensively with anyone but with the absence of Jusuf Nurkic, the Blazers just didn't have anyone that Draymond had to worry himself with. "We had 88 points at the end of the third quarter", Green said. Warriors coach Steve Kerr took the same approach with his injured player, F Matt Barnes (sprained right foot), noting, "We'll see how it goes for Wednesday.".
That's a quote aspiring defensive superstars can take to heart.
However when you factor in Green's nine assists, he becomes the only player in National Basketball Association playoff history to ever record such a line. His ability to convert on those looks was a huge issue for Portland's defense; those are the types of shots that they should be willing to live with, but they may change their tune on that if Durant continues to make nearly all of them. Draymond is a great defender but he doesn't have the size and strength to deal with Nurkic.