ORACLE ARENA, OAKLAND, CA — Three nights after taking Game 1, the No. 1-seeded Golden State Warriors (1-0) were back home, albeit somewhat depleted, to face the 8th-seeded Portland Trail Blazers (0-1).
The Warriors were without Kevin Durant (left calf strain), Matt Barnes (right ankle/foot sprain), Shaun Livingston (right index finger sprain and hand contusion) and Kevon Looney (left hip strain).
The Blazers were without Jusuf Nurkic (right leg), Ed Davis (left shoulder), and Festus Ezeli (left knee).
Golden State got off to a rocky start, with Zaza Pachulia providing two early buckets…
…and Damian Lillard off ot the races with a series of dissections and layups. Meanwhile, Stephen Curry missed his first couple attempts from distance.
Down 5-4, Pachulia got called for a bad screen, Curry slipped and fell, getting tangled with Evan Turner. After the whistle, with Steph sitting on the floor from beyond the arc, he flung the ball in.
Despite the turnover, the Warriors came back with two free throws from Patrick McCaw, who got an early scoop rejected, a three on a catch from Draymond Green, and an early-offense triple by Klay Thompson on a stagger screen set by Curry:
C.J. McCollum then made a terrible swing pass that ended up in Steph’s hands, Curry forced the action, pulled up behind the arc over Turner, canned the trey…
…Oracle roared, Portland head coach Terry Stotts called timeout, and Steph did an exaggerated shimmy on the way back to the Warriors bench.
Golden State snatched the lead, 15-9, with 7:27 remaining.
After the timeout, Thompson got going, draining a jumper and-one against McCollum, then hitting a catch-and-turn at the free throw line over Turner.
Andre Iguodala came in, fired an entry pass deep into the paint where Pachulia easily laid the ball in reverse, and Stotts called another timeout as Oracle gave a standing ovation for the great play by the Warriors, who now sported a 22-11 lead with 5:19 to play.
Out of the timeout, JaVale McGee subbed in and sparked the team again, slamming home a scoop lob by a slashing Curry…
…then after a swished jumper by Ian Clark many possessions later, getting another lob and jamming that home.
Green assisted that one on a “tic-tac-toe” play from the right pinch post…
…then Steph deflected a Noah Vonleh pass way up top, intended for Lillard, and Curry dissected Vonleh at the other end with a between-the-legs crossover and another scoop pass to JaVale for yet another smash:
That gave the Warriors a 31-15 lead with 2:00 to go. Lillard did what he could to put the Blazers on his shoulders, but couldn’t connect on a drive, and Iguodala fed Draymond in the post, who fed Steph on the cut and the sequence ended with a layup with 56.2 seconds left, giving the Warriors a 33-17 cushion.
Neither team could convert before the buzzer and Golden State took a 16-point lead into the second stanza.
Q2: Flame Out
The Warriors bench unit did well early on in the second quarter as David West hit a jumper then played give-and-go with Clark for a Clark layup, giving Golden State a 37-24 lead with 9:46 remaining:
But the flame died out and the Blazers chipped away, with a McCollum left corner trey bringing Portland as close as 37-31.
West scored, then found Iguodala for a two-hand jam on the left baseline and Stotts called timeout as the Warriors maintained a 41-33 lead:
However, the Blazers kept at it and the Warriors’ offense went stale, with a leaning Iguodala jumper the only bucket for a long empty stretch, which included Iguodala getting called for a slap:
Turner finally got a spinning inside move against McCaw to drop, and Warriors head coach Steve Kerr had to call timeout with 4:02 to play as Portland closed the gap to just 43-39.
Out of the timeout, a Curry pass to McGee went awry and Turner brought the ball up and pulled up from the arc, bringing the Blazers to within 43-42, but McCaw finally took a three on a catch from Draymond inside, and the Warriors regained some momentum:
JaVale added an and-one on a nice feed by Klay, McCaw went strong on the left side for a layup…
…and McGee got an impressive put-back on a missed jumper from Thompson that drew a lot of contact but no call:
But Klay lost the ball on the next Warriors possession and Moe Harkless beat McGee in a foot race to the rim.
Steph, however, answered back with a drive and lobbed again to McGee. JaVale managed to tap the ball in with great finesse in traffic, and Golden State held a 55-46 lead with 1:06 to go.
Harkless and Lillard missed threes to close out the half, and Curry fell short on a step-back three from the left arc at the buzzer, and the Warriors still led 55-46 at halftime.
JaVale led the Warriors with 13 points in just 8 minutes of play, while Harkless led the Blazers with 15 points. The Splash Brothers were just 5-for-18 combined, and Draymond had 3 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists. Lillard had 10 points and McCollum was just 3-for-11 from the field.
Shaq on Draymond: https://twitter.com/TurnerSportsPR/status/854906589903323136/video/1
JaVale with Ros: https://twitter.com/NBCSWarriors/status/854907559748091904/video/1
(Photo: @letsgowarriors Instagram account via @miznora)