| WAR­RIORS TAKE 1-0 SE­RIES LEAD OVER SPURS

West Hawaii Today - - Sports - BY JANIE MCCAULEY

OAK­LAND, Calif. — The Golden State War­riors had some­thing to prove all right: Oh yes, they plan to stay on top in these play­offs de­spite a dis­ap­point­ing fin­ish to the reg­u­lar sea­son.

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

“Ab­so­lutely,” Klay Thomp­son said about play­ing a mem­o­rable, state­ment-mak­ing Game 1. “We did not end the sea­son on a high note, we kind of hob­bled into the play­offs. We know how tal­ented we are. We know how good we are. We have been here be­fore in the post­sea­son and know what it takes to win.”

And they still know how to win in im­pres­sive fash­ion on the NBA’s big stage.

Du­rant, Thomp­son and Dray­mond Green took charge in Game 1 of the first-round se­ries to el­e­vate the War­riors’ in­ten­sity at last play­ing with­out fel­low All-Star and in­jured two-time MVP Stephen Curry, side­lined since March 23 with a sprained left knee.

Thomp­son found his shoot­ing touch and scored 27 points, mak­ing 11 of 13 shots, while 7-footer JaVale McGee started in Steve Kerr’s cen­ter-by-com­mit­tee ap­proach and con­trib­uted 15 points, four re­bounds and two blocked shots in 16 min­utes. Green con­trib­uted 12 points, 11 as­sists and eight re­bounds.

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 first quar­ter we looked like deer in the head­lights,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.

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

The War­riors looked un­beat­able again. And that was with­out the do-ev­ery­thing Curry.

Golden State said all week it’s a new sea­son, then went out and showed it. The War­riors have plans for noth­ing short of a re­peat ti­tle.

“We’re a cham­pi­onship ball­club. We know what it takes this time a year to win,” Green said. “… We’re primed for this. A lot of peo­ple tend to for­get what we’re ca­pa­ble of. We know.”

Golden State came with the kind of swarm­ing de­fense it is so used to play­ing but hadn’t ex­hib­ited much lately as ro­ta­tions were mixed and matched be­cause of in­juries and ill­ness.

San An­to­nio couldn’t keep up from the open­ing tip.

“We were just very overly ex­cited, overzeal­ous,” San An­to­nio’s Danny Green said. “Over­re­act­ing to a lot of things be­cause we are so ex­cited that we’re in the play­offs and play­ing, ob­vi­ously, the best team in the world.”

Beat up and miss­ing its four All-Stars at times, Golden State en­dured a stretch los­ing seven of 10 last month.

Golden State swept San An­to­nio in the West­ern Con­fer­ence Fi­nals a year ago on the way to a sec­ond cham­pi­onship in three sea­sons and an as­ton­ish­ing, record-set­ting 16-1 post­sea­son run.

Kerr al­ways said his team would be ready when these play­offs came around.

The War­riors were de­ter­mined to pick up their de­fense, and they did just that.

Green, Du­rant and the oth­ers quickly closed on shoot­ers and got hands up to al­ter shots.

2015 Fi­nals MVP An­dre Iguo­dala moved into the start­ing lineup for the 2018 edi­tion of that “Strength In Numbers” mantra — and all those bright yel­low T-shirts through the arena are there to back it.

Iguo­dala, who started just seven games all sea­son be­fore Satur­day, had missed four of the fi­nal five reg­u­lar-sea­son games with a sore left knee.

Kerr went with his best de­fen­sive unit.

“I thought it was im­por­tant to re-es­tab­lish our de­fense, one way or an­other, win or lose,” Kerr said. “That’s the rea­son this is a cham­pi­onship team. It’s the de­fense that has been the key for this team for years.”

76ERS 130, HEAT 103

PHILADEL­PHIA — Ben Sim­mons had 17 points, 14 as­sists and nine re­bounds in his play­off de­but, and Philadel­phia romped again with­out Joel Em­biid, beat­ing Mi­ami for its 17th straight win.

Em­biid was a spec­ta­tor in Game 1 of the firstround 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. The Six­ers could end this one early with Em­biid back in the lineup.

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 from phys­i­cal and foul-filled to a long-dis­tance game that al­lowed the Six­ers to put away this one. They used a 15-0 run in the third in their first post­sea­son game in five sea­sons un­der coach Brett Brown to get the rout rolling.

JJ Redick scored 28 points to lead the Six­ers, who host Game 2 on Mon­day. Be­linelli had 25 and Ilyasova 17.

RAP­TORS 114, WIZARDS 106

TORONTO — Serge Ibaka had 23 points and 12 re­bounds, Delon Wright scored 11 of his 18 points in the fourth quar­ter, and Toronto snapped a 10-game los­ing streak in play­off se­ries open­ers by beat­ing Wash­ing­ton.

DeMar DeRozan added 17 points, C. J. Miles and OG Anunoby each had 12, and Kyle Lowry had 11 points and nine as­sists for the Rap­tors, whose only pre­vi­ous vic­tory in the open­ing game of a play­off se­ries came in the sec­ond round against Philadel­phia in 2001.

Toronto en­tered hav­ing lost an NBA-worst 10 con­sec­u­tive Game 1s since, in­clud­ing six at home.

The top-seeded team in the East­ern Con­fer­ence, Toronto made 16 of 30 3-point at­tempts, with Miles mak­ing four, and Ibaka and Wright each hit­ting three.

The Rap­tors host Game 2 on Tues­day.

John Wall had 23 points and 15 as­sists for the Wizards, while Marki­eff Mor­ris had 22 points and 11 re­bounds.

PEL­I­CANS 97, TRAIL BLAZ­ERS 95

PORT­LAND, Ore. — An­thony Davis had 35 points, 14 re­bounds and four blocks, and New Or­leans beat Port­land in Game 1 of their play­off se­ries.

Jrue Hol­i­day added 21 points, out­play­ing both Damian Lil­lard and CJ McCol­lum, and had a big blocked shot in the clos­ing sec­onds as New Or­leans held on af­ter Port­land erased al­most all of a 19-point deficit.

Ra­jon Rondo fin­ished with 17 as­sists, eight re­bounds and six points as New Or­leans won the back­court bat­tle on top of Davis dom­i­nat­ing the in­te­rior.

Lil­lard fin­ished with 18 points, seven re­bounds and seven as­sists while McCol­lum had 19 points.

The sixth- seeded Pel­i­cans were the only road team to win on the open­ing day of the NBA play­offs. Nikola Mirotic had 16 points, 11 re­bounds and also blocked four shots to help Davis earn the first vic­tory of his play­off ca­reer.

AP PHOTO/ BEN MAR­GOT

Golden State War­riors' Kevin Du­rant, right, drives the ball against San An­to­nio Spurs' Manu Gi­no­bili (20) dur­ing the first half of Satur­day's first-round game.

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