Du­rant, Warriors run roughshod over Spurs

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - SPORTS -

Kevin Du­rant helped the de­fend­ing NBA cham­pi­ons get de­fen­sive in a hurry, fin­ish­ing with 24 points, eight re­bounds and seven as­sists as the Warriors re­turned to their old dom­i­nant selves at play­off time to beat the cold-shoot­ing Spurs 113-92 on Satur­day in Oak­land, Calif.

Du­rant, Dray­mond Green and Klay Thomp­son took charge in Game 1 of the West­ern Con­fer­ence firstround se­ries to el­e­vate the Warriors’ in­ten­sity while play­ing with­out in­jured two-time MVP Stephen Curry, side­lined since March 23 with a sprained left knee.

Thomp­son found his shot and scored 27 points, mak­ing 11 of 13 shots, while 7-foot JaVale McGee started in Steve Kerr’s cen­ter-by­commit­tee ap­proach and con­trib­uted 15 points, four re­bounds and two blocked shots in 16 min­utes.

The Warriors recorded 32 as­sists on 44 field goals and held a de­ci­sive 51-30 re­bound­ing ad­van­tage.

They also came with the kind of swarm­ing de­fense they hadn’t shown much lately as ro­ta­tions were mixed be­cause of in­juries and ill­ness. Miss­ing their four All-Stars at times, the Warriors lost seven of 10 over one stretch last month.

Rudy Gay led the Spurs with 15 points off the bench as lead­ing scorer LaMar­cus Aldridge was lim­ited to 14 points on 5-for-12 shoot­ing. The Spurs shot 40 per­cent for the game.

Game 2 in the best-of­seven se­ries is Mon­day night at Or­a­cle Arena.

Ben Sim­mons had 17 points, 14 as­sists and nine re­bounds in his play­off de­but, and the Philadel­phia 76ers romped again with­out Joel Em­biid, beat­ing the Mi­ami Heat for their 17th straight win.

Em­biid was a spec­ta­tor in Game 1 of the first-round se­ries be­cause of a bro­ken or­bital bone around his left eye. The All-Star cen­ter has been hope­ful he can re­turn early in the se­ries.

Sim­mons dished and daz­zled in the paint and the Heat had no an­swer for Six­ers re­serves Marco Be­linelli and Er­san Ilyasova. Be­linelli and Ilyasova com­bined to hit four 3-point­ers in the third quar­ter that helped shift the tone.

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