Stephen Curry had all kinds of room for a change and capitalised, finding his shooting touch in a hurry to get Golden State on a roll. Portland’s defenders were too far back in the paint or a step behind all night.
‘Practice shots,’ Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard said of Curry’s wide-open chances.
So far, the Warriors are showing they can keep winning until Kevin Durant gets healthy.
Stephen Curry (left) got the better of younger brother Seth as the Golden State Warriors beat the Portland Trail Blazers in Game One of the NBA Western Conference play-offs
Curry was in game-winning form as he scored 36 points to give the Warriors a 1-0 advantage
It was the first time the two brothers have come up against one another in the NBA Finals
Making it look easy again, Curry knocked down nine 3-pointers on his way to 36 points, leading the two-time defending champions past the Trail Blazers 116-94 on Tuesday night in Game One of the Western Conference finals.
‘I know what I’m capable of on the floor. The situation calls for me to be a little bit more aggressive and hopefully that’ll continue,’ said Curry, who came in shooting 37.1 per cent on 3s this postseason.
‘Obviously it’s nice to see the ball go in. I didn’t shoot the ball well for 4 1/2 games the last series and got off to a good start tonight. I want to maintain that.
‘Every game is different, you’ve got to re-establish yourself. That’s my perspective no matter how I play.’
Curry shot 12 for 23 in his fourth 30-point performance this post-season, finding far more open looks than he had in the last round against Houston.
Curry’s scoring form meant the Warriors continued to win in the absence of Kevin Durant
It was a surreal evening for the Curry brothers as they came up against one another on court
There were split loyalties for their parents as well, with father Dell (left) wearing a Warriors top and mother Sonya in Blazers uniform
Sonya Curry reacts to the action during what was surely an interesting evening for the parents
The two-time NBA MVP outplayed the Portland duo of Lillard and CJ McCollum, who combined to go 11 for 31 against a strong Golden State defense.
‘It’s good to see Steph have a game like that at a time that obviously we need him most,’ Draymond Green said.
Klay Thompson had 26 points, including a late one-handed slam. Green established the energy on both ends early for the well-rested Warriors, finishing with 12 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, three blocks and two steals.
Lillard scored 19 points back home in Oakland, just miles away from where he grew up. He appreciated all the support but wants to stick to basketball.
‘That’s part of what makes it special, I’m from here,’ Lillard said. ‘I could walk home from here if I wanted to, that tells you how close it is.’
McCollum had 17 and missed five of his six 3s as the cold-shooting Blazers went just 7 for 28 from long range.
Klay Thompson celebrates a score with Jordan Bell during the second half on Tuesday night
Draymond Green and Kevin Looney try to keep Zach Collins of the Trail Blazers at bay
Enes Kanter of the Trail Blazers battles for the ball with Draymond Green during Game One
Game Two is on Thursday night, and the Warriors are unlikely to have Durant back from a strained right calf. An update on Durant’s status is expected that day once the two-time reigning NBA Finals MVP is re-examined.
‘I think we played a terrible game and we still had a chance going into the fourth quarter,’ McCollum said, ‘so we need to tighten some things up and look forward to the game on Thursday.’
Curry came off screens with authority and matched his post-season career high for 3s, also accomplished in Game One of last year’s finals against Cleveland.
He found his groove far earlier than in the Game Six clincher at Houston on Friday night, when he scored all 33 of his points in the second half.
Little brother Seth struggled with three points for Portland, which shot 36.1 per cent overall.
‘It’s not one-and-done. We’ve got a series, it’s one loss,’ Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. ‘We’ve got to play better, particularly at the offensive end, but we’ve got to be better at both ends.’
Draymond Green and the Golden State fans celebrates scoring during their victory
CJ McCollum of the Trail Blazers (left) and Klay Thompson of the Warriors fight for the ball
Lillard hit a game-winning 3-pointer with 6.3 seconds remaining in overtime on December 27 in his last regular-season game at Oracle Arena. He averaged 28.3 points and 6.5 assists in four regular-season games against Golden State this season.
He arrived for Game One in a custom Oakland Athletics baseball jersey having averaged 30 points in his nine previous playoff match-ups against the Warriors.
Green has at least 10 rebounds in six straight playoff games, matching his postseason career-best streak of six also done last year.
‘This series is going to get tougher and tougher,’ Green said.
Between warm-up shots, Seth Curry stole a glance to the other end as his big brother went through his own pre-game routine.
Back in the locker room, Stephen Curry said, ‘That was wild.’ Then, he joked, ‘Only me and Seth are going to score, the whole series.’
The Currys became the first brothers to ever face off in a conference final and the first in any round since Marc Gasol for the Grizzlies against Pau Gasol and the Spurs in the first round of the 2017 playoffs.
‘I caught myself a couple times looking up in the stands at my parents,’ Stephen Curry said.
Dell Curry and Sonya courtside ahead of the first game of the Western Conference series
ON THE ROAD
Coach Steve Kerr certainly thought the rest benefited the Warriors.
‘The schedule favoured us but I thought we took advantage of the situation and got off to a good start,’ Kerr said.
The Blazers travelled straight to the Bay Area from Denver after winning Game Seven on Sunday rather than return to Portland.
‘Denver seems like a week ago now,’ Stotts said.
Trail Blazers: Portland committed four quick turnovers and finished with 21 for 31 Golden State points. … G Rodney Hood, who suffered a bone bruise in his left knee Sunday against the Nuggets, scored 17 points. … Portland are 1-9 all-time against Golden State in the playoffs.
Warriors: Damian Jones, who began the season as starting center, returned from a torn left pectoral muscle to play in his first game since December 1. … Golden State are 18-1 in Game One of a play-off series dating to the 2015 title run, having won the last 12 postseason openers.
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