The Portland Trailblazers are looking to be the first team in five years to reach the NBA Finals out of the West not named Golden State. However, their quest is off to a bad start.
The Warriors ran away with Game 1 winning 116-94 as Stephen Curry returned to MVP form dropping a game-high 36 points splashing home nine 3-pointers in the process. All night Curry had plenty of room to operate working the pick-and-roll to perfection at the Trailblazers struggled to contain him. Steph Curry tied his NBA Playoffs career-high with nine three-pointers in the Game 1 win. The only other players to make 9+ threes in more than one postseason game are Ray Allen & Klay Thompson, with two each.
The two-time defending champions also saw Klay Thompson put up 26 points and Draymond Green with 12 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists while they continue to win games without Kevin Durant in the lineup.
Meanwhile, Damian Lillard returned to his hometown of Oakland but struggled to get going finishing with 19 points on 4-12 shooting and seven turnovers. C.J. McCollum, Rodney Hood and Maurice Harkless all had 17 points of their own but the team collectively struggled from the field shooting 36 percent and 7-28 from behind the arc.
For Portland, they kept the game in tact until the winding seconds of the first half. Although they trailed most of the opening periods they never let the game get out of hand.
Jonas Jerebko had the Warriors up 10 after his mid-range jumper, but the Blazers rallied back cutting the deficit back to 48-45 on Lillard’s three free throws. However, Steph hit back-to-back triples in the final minute to give Golden State a 54-45 lead.
Again in the third quarter, it looked like Golden State would pull away going up by 13 points, but Portland kept within striking distance as Lillard’s layup at the buzzer made it a six-point game entering the final period.
But every time Portland got close Golden State found a way to separate themselves. Thompson’s 3-pointer with less than nine minutes to play gave them a double-digit lead for the rest of the game as it became a battle of the benches with two and a half minutes left to play.
The Warriors are now up 1-0 in the series, but Portland has another chance to steal one on the road Friday. Golden State will once again be without Durant. However, if the Blazers plan on tying up the series they’ll need to find a way to limit Curry.
SIDE NOTE: The Curry family made history with Steph and his little brother Seth being the first brothers ever to play against each other in the conference finals.