ORACLE ARENA, OAKLAND, CA — Three-and-a-half days after ending their regular season, the Golden State Warriors (67-15) played host to the Portland Trail Blazers (41-41) in Game 1 of the opening round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs.
The Warriors were without Matt Barnes (right ankle/foot sprain) and Kevon Looney (left hip train).
Q1: Warriors Weather McCollum Storm
Zaza Pachulia got the first bucket of the game…
…then set a pick for Stephen Curry up top for a splash:
But C.J. McCollum got hot, drew free throws, got an extra pass for a triple from Evan Turner, who got the start in place of injured center Jusuf Nurkic, then pulled up for three over Curry and got a runner to drop.
The Warriors countered with a swooping, stepping, coast-to-coast dunk past Damian Lillard from Kevin Durant after a missed scoop by Turner and an outlet by Draymond Green:
Early on, the Warriors led, 13-11, with 7:20 remaining.
Later, JaVale McGee came in after Andre Iguodala subbed out Pachulia, and promptly got a tip-in of a missed three by Steph, couldn’t catch a lead pass from Curry after that, but disrupted an Al-Farouq Aminu drive, which led to a Durant dunk attempt that got fouled, down the right side.
Curry had hit a long two prior to that…
…and, after a timeout, was inexplicably awarded a three-pointer on the step-back, then McGee swatted Aminu again, and got a dunk off a tic-tac-toe play with Steph and Draymond:
JaVale again converged and got help from Green and Shaun Livingston to disrupt an Allen Crabbe drive, and later grabbed a rebound on a missed runner by Lillard, which led to Curry driving and scoring past a switched Meyers Leonard in transition with 1:00 to play.
But Lillard came back off the ball and got the whistle for too much contact on Curry, sending Steph to the bench as Ian Clark came in. A trip to the free throw line by Lillard put the Blazers behind just 29-25.
Livingston, who had swished his first right-baseline attempt earlier, posted up in the right post and dished back out to Green for three, but Lillard once again drew free throws, this time driving in for a dunk past Draymond, with JaVale helping out at the last moment for the swat.
However, McGee was called for too much body contact despite the clean swat…
…and Lillard’s free throws pulled the Blazers to within 32-27 entering the second stanza.
Q2: McCollum Stays Hot, Lillard Joins In
Out of end-of-quarter timeout, the officials reversed their reversal on the Steph long two-pointer, correctly scoring the game at 31-27.
McCollum stayed hot with another jumper, but Draymond countered with another triple, then out of a timeout, Klay Thompson got a backdoor layup assisted by David West, then swatted McCollum off his body, but the referee gave the ball to the Blazers despite the obvious call:
McCollum hit a catch-and-shoot three from the baseline inbound, Klay answered with a three of his own, but CJ wasn’t done and hit another jumper.
Clark made his imprint on the game, hitting a trey on the catch from the left arc, then leaping high to tap a bad pass to halfcourt, and scored with his left hand on the race down court, contested:
Blazers head coach Terry Stotts called timeout with 7:09 to go to stop the Golden State momentum, with the Warriors moving ahead, 44-39.
Out of the timeout, McCollum went to work again, scoring three more buckets in succession and giving Portland an improbable 45-44 lead.
After Durant missed a runner, Lillard took charge and scored a righty scoop down the left side, but Iguodala got doubled down low and found “KD” on the left wing for three.
Klay added a catch-and-turn banker off a cut inside, but Lillard struck back, crossing over Steph impressively at the top and lofting a floater before Draymond could get there in time.
Durant then up-faked and lost a dribble to Moe Harkless, who finished at the other end with a layup past Green, and Warriors head coach Steve Kerr called timeout with 2:38 left, the game now tied at 51-51.
Out of the timeout, Steph drew free throws on Lillard as Damian fouled him on a cut, but Lillard answered with a pull-up, Curry answered that with a right-side bank, then after McCollum threw the ball away and Klay missed an early triple, Lillard erupted again with a three from the Oracle logo which is just beyond the hashmark.
Draymond drew a foul on Harkless, made only one of two free throws, took a foul against Lillard with 5.4 seconds remaining, then stopped him in his tracks on the inbound, and the game went into halftime tied, 56-56.
McCollum tallied 27 points and Lillard 21, shooting a combined 17-for-26 and 5-for-8 from downtown. Durant led the Warriors with 16 points on 5-for-10 field and Curry added 13.
(Photo: @letsgowarriors Instagram account via @browneyedgurl)