Du­rant, Thomp­son lead War­riors to a 2-0 se­ries lead on Spurs

Sun.Star Baguio - - PRIME SPORTS -

OAK­LAND, Calif. — Stephen Curry watched an­other lop­sided win from the bench in sheer de­light, wear­ing a sport coat and big smile.

The steady hands of Kevin Du­rant and Klay Thomp­son cer­tainly have made the two-time MVP’s ab­sence far less daunt­ing for the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons so far in these play­offs.

Du­rant sparked a de­ci­sive third-quar­ter run on the way to 32 points, Thomp­son added 31 points and five as­sists in an­other su­perb play­off per­for­mance and the Golden State War­riors ral­lied in the sec­ond half to beat the San An­to­nio Spurs 116-101 on Mon­day night for a 2-0 lead in their first-round se­ries.

As Curry re­mains out likely for the en­tire se­ries nurs­ing a sprained left knee, the War­riors used all the of­fen­sive power they had to take both home games in the best-of-seven se­ries.

“No one can make up Steph’s con­tri­bu­tions in­di­vid­u­ally,” Thomp­son said. “That’s got to be done as a team and even then it’s hard with the way he can shoot the ball.”

Thomp­son has found his touch af­ter miss­ing two weeks in March with a bro­ken right thumb.

He fol­lowed up his bril­liant 11-for-13 shoot­ing day in a 113-92 Game 1 rout Satur­day by hit­ting 12 of 20 shots. Du­rant also had six re­bounds and six as­sists for the War­riors, who went with­out key backup big man David West down the stretch af­ter he sprained his left an­kle early in the fourth.

Coach Steve Kerr stuck with JaVale McGee as his start­ing cen­ter and the 7footer con­trib­uted 10 points and seven re­bounds as the well­rounded de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons again showed off their re­mark­able depth.

LaMar­cus Aldridge scored 34 for the Spurs de­spite fac­ing dou­ble-teams and Rudy Gay moved into the start­ing lineup and scored 12 points.

Game 3 is Thurs­day as the se­ries shifts to San An­to­nio.

Thomp­son man­aged just three shots in the first quar­ter and be­gan 1 for 5. He pounded the bas­ket­ball down with two hands, frus­trated, mid­way through the sec­ond quar­ter. Then he found his groove.

“He hit some tough shots off one leg and you know had some op­por­tu­nity bounces,” Aldridge said. “That’s why they are who they are. They made tough shots. KD made tough shots.”

A base­line 3 with 55.9 sec­onds left be­fore half­time was his first of the night and got Golden State within 49-45 be­fore the Spurs took a 5347 lead at in­ter­mis­sion.

Dray­mond Green be­gan 0 for 5 be­fore his first bas­ket on the open­ing pos­ses­sion of the fourth quar­ter and Du­rant missed his five 3-point tries in the first half then fi­nally hit from deep early in the third.

The War­riors opened the third on a 19-5 run to take charge but this time the Spurs didn’t go away.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich went with Gay in the start­ing lineup for Kyle An­der­son in an ef­fort to gen­er­ate more scor­ing — and his team still strug­gled to make shots.

Popovich said be­fore the game that Golden State in Game 1 played “the most sti­fling de­fense we faced all year long. That was the best de­fen­sive 48 min­utes that we have com­peted against all year long.”

Kerr knew Popovich would have his team bet­ter pre­pared.

And the Spurs showed higher in­ten­sity on both ends through the first half, work­ing to keep the ball out of Du­rant’s hands or con­test shots while jump­ing in pass­ing lanes to force mis­takes.

An­dre Iguo­dala, the 2015 Fi­nals MVP, started a sec­ond straight game and had 14 points, seven re­bounds and five as­sists as the War­riors beat the Spurs for the 10th time in 11 games cov­er­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son and play­offs.

San An­to­nio strug­gled from the floor for the sec­ond straight game, fin­ish­ing 35 for 85 (41.2 per­cent). In Game 1, the Spurs shot 40 just per­cent while go­ing 9 for 22 from deep and got out­re­bounded 5130. TIP-INS

Spurs: Aldridge made all 12 of his free throws . ... The Spurs missed 9 of their first 11 3s and were 4 for 28 from long range. ... San An­to­nio lost its sixth straight games over­all against the War­riors at Or­a­cle Arena . ... The Spurs took their first lead of the se­ries, 1817, with 4:20 left in the first quar­ter. They trailed from wire to wire in the se­ries opener.

War­riors: Golden State outscored San An­to­nio 69-48 in the sec­ond half . ... Af­ter get­ting 32 as­sists on 44 field goals in the se­ries opener, the War­riors tal­lied 24 as­sists on 41 bas­kets. ... Golden State has won nine straight post­sea­son Game 2s, all at home, and 11 con­sec­u­tive home play­off games over­all. RE­LI­ABLE WEST

West scored on three straight sec­ondquar­ter pos­ses­sions and fin­ished with 10 points and four re­bounds in 14 min­utes.

But he got in­jured with 9:59 left de­fend­ing Aldridge and headed to the locker room, de­spite ap­pear­ing to try stretch­ing out his legs to re­turn.

“He had a re­ally nice night,” Kerr said. “I was con­cerned with that sprained an­kle. We’ll see how he’s do­ing. We need him, but he told me he was do­ing OK.” QUOTEABLE

Popovich on whether he saw po­ten­tial in Kerr to coach dur­ing Kerr’s four years for San An­to­nio:

“Oh, sure, I mean are you kid­ding me? He played for Phil (Jack­son) for 97 years and he learned a lot and won cham­pi­onships. ... He’s a no­brainer.” AP

AP Photo

Golden State War­riors’ Kevin Du­rant (35) is guarded by San An­to­nio Spurs’ Danny Green (14) dur­ing the first quar­ter in Game 2 of a first-round NBA bas­ket­ball play­off se­ries Mon­day, April 16, 2018, in Oak­land, Calif.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.