The Blazers hung around for much of the first half, but Steph Curry drained two 3-pointers in the last minute to boost the Warriors’ advantage to nine, and that was the key turning point. The Warriors took that momentum into the third quarter and soon had their lead up to 17 points after another Curry 3 in the middle of the third.
Though the Blazers continued to hang around and make things interesting into the fourth quarter, the game was never in doubt. While the final score makes the game look a bit more lopsided than it really was, the Warriors were never in danger of losing this one after their third-quarter burst. They were in cruise control from that point on.
Here are four main takeaways from Golden State’s Game 1 victory:
Curry was cooking
Steph Curry continued the momentum of his second-half outburst to close out the Rockets in Game 6 with 36 points on nine 3-pointers in Game 1 vs. Portland. Curry was aggressive from the start, but a lot of the blame has to go to the Blazers, whose pick-and-roll coverage was an embarrassment. Look how far Enes Kanter is dropped in the lane here, leaving Steph with an ocean of daylight coming off the high screen:
If you’re going to give Steph Curry wide-open looks from 3 off simply ball screens without bringing a second defender to interrupt him, forget about it, Blazers. You’re going home in four.
You have to wonder if Terry Stotts will consider a change at center, starting Zach Collins or perhaps even trying out Moe Harkless at the five in a super-small lineup like the Rockets tried with P.J. Tucker at center. Bottom line: They have to have people on the court who can come out on the perimeter and at least challenge these shots from Curry, who took candy from a baby in Game 1.
Need more from Lillard and McCollum
Dame and CJ combined for 36 points in Game 1. If Steph Curry is going to match those two by himself, again, forget about it. This series is over. The Warriors were aggressive in coming out on Lillard and not letting him step into 3-pointers the way the Blazers were allowing Curry to do, and Klay Thompson was terrific defending one-on-one against McCollum.
Speaking of Klay
Thompson finished with 26 points and a team-high plus-16 in Game 1. Again, his defense and energy were off the charts. He ran the floor. He gave the Warriors offense when Curry was on the bench. Portland was way too lax in defending Klay while Curry was out, letting him break free when there wasn’t another player on the court they should’ve been worried about. Playoff Klay is back and rolling. Bad news for Portland.
Fatigue, turnovers and missed shots
The Blazers won a draining Game 7, at Denver altitude, on Sunday, then had to turn right around and get off a plane and suit up against the champs on their home floor. You could see the effects in Portland’s 21 turnovers and 36 percent shooting. Those numbers clearly aren’t going to get it done against Golden State, but the problem is, they’ve only got one day off before Game 2 on Thursday. No rest for the weary. Portland flat-out has to be sharper or it’s going home down 0-2 with almost no chance of winning this series.
If you missed any of the Game 1 action, we were with you the whole way with our LIVE bog. Have a run through below.
How to watch Game 2
- Date: Thursday, May 16
- Time: 9 p.m. ET
- Location: Oracle Arena — Oakland, California
- TV channel: ESPN
- Live stats: GameTracker
- Online streaming: WatchESPN
- Odds: N/A at this time