Warriors show their might sans Curry
San Francisco: Defending champions Golden State opened the NBA play-offs by routing San Antonio 113-92, the Warriors serving notice on Saturday they will not be easily dethroned despite Stephen Curry’s knee injury.
Klay Thompson scored a game-high 27 points on 11-of-13 shooting, including 5-of-6 from 3-point range, and Kevin Durant added 24 points, eight rebounds and seven assists to power Golden State.
“We played well. We played hard. We need to do even better next time,” Durant said before praising Thompson’s long-range heroics.
“Klay knocked down shots. He was really good. He was penetrating as well,” Durant said. “We won’t always make shots at that rate but we need to play good defence like that as well.”
In Saturday’s other games, Eastern Conference top seed Toronto outlasted Washington 114-106 while New Orleans met Portland and Philadelphia hosted Miami in later contests.
The host Warriors updated star guard Curry’s left knee sprain before playing, saying he was making progress and will be re-evaluated next Saturday, on the eve of game four of the best-of-seven first-round series at San Antonio.
Curry, who missed Golden State’s last 10 regular-season contests after the March 23 setback, will intensify his rehabilitation work in the next few days with more running and lateral movement, the team said in a statement.
Curry averaged 26.4 points, 6.1 assists and 5.1 rebounds for the Warriors, who have played without several top players during the season due to injuries.
Despite the setbacks, Golden State won 58 games and are solid contenders for a third title in four seasons and fourth consecutive trip to the NBA Finals.
At Toronto, the Raptors snapped a streak of losses in all nine prior play-off openers in club history.
“It’s big for us. We got the job done,” said Raptors star Kyle Lowry. “Now we’re just going to try to continue to build on that.”
The Raptors struggled into the fourth quarter against a Wizards squad that had the most losses of any playoff team and split four regular-season games against Toronto.
But Raptors reserve Delon Wright scored five points and C.J. Miles added a 3-pointer in a 10-0 Toronto run in the fourth quarter for a 105-96 lead the Wizards never overcame.
Serge Ibaka led the Raptors with 23 points and 12 rebounds while Wright added points 18 and DeMar DeRozan netted 17. Kyle Lowry contributed 11 points and nine assists.
John Wall led Washington with 23 points and 15 assists while Markieff Morris added 22 points and 11 rebounds.
(All series best-of-seven)
Toronto 114 Washington 106
(Toronto lead series 1-0)
Philadelphia 130 Miami Heat 103
(Philadelphia lead series 1-0)
Golden State 113 San Antonio 92
(Golden State lead series 1-0)
Portland Trail Blazers 95 New Orleans Pelicans 97