PORTLAND wing CJ McCollum tied a Blazers playoff franchise record for points in a half, but it was not enough to overcome NBA title favourite Golden State in Game 1 of their Western Conference playoff series.
McCollum was unstoppable for Portland, drilling 27 in the first half on his way to a game-high 41 points and had plenty of help from back court mate Damian Lillard, who scorched with 34, but the combined talents of the Warriors were too hot to handle in a 121-109 result.
With scores all square at the last break, the Warriors showed why they finished the season with the best record in the NBA, putting on the afterburners to stretch the final margin to 12.
Kevin Durant led the way with 32 points and 10 rebounds in his playoff debut with the Warriors, while reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry dropped 29 points and was a perfect eight of eight from the charity stripe.
But it was Draymond Green’s near triple-double that stole the show for the Warriors, the Defensive Player of the Year favourite doing it all at both ends of the floor on the way to 19 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists, five blocks and three steals.
The Blazers leant heavily on their starters and for good reason — they only got nine points off the bench. It was an admirable effort, given star big man Jusuf Nurkic was unable to go, thanks to a fractured leg that has caused him to miss the past seven games.
Earlier, John Wall taught the Atlanta Hawks a basketball lesson as the Washington Wizards rolled to a 114-107 victory.
Wall was the architect of everything good the Wizards did, lacing his game-high 32 points with 14 assists and four boards.
Wing pairing Bradley Beal (22) and Markieff Morris (21) gave solid offensive support as the Wizards dropped 38 points in the championship quarter and missed just one of their 17 free throws to ensure the win.
Dennis Schroder had 25 points and nine dimes for the Hawks.
Other playoff action today features the East’s No.1 seeded Boston Celtics up against the Chicago Bulls and MVP favourites James Harden and Russell Westbrook going head to head for the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder.
Originally published as Warriors blaze trail through Portland
SOURCE: newsnow sport