Los Angeles, CA—The defending champion Golden State Warriors put its title defense on display in front of their home crowd on Saturday night against the Los Angeles Clippers. They defeated the Clippers 121-104 in Game 1. Los Angeles did a lot of good in the game, but it was covered up by the defending champs.
Head Coach Doc Rivers knew that this team could beat them in several different ways, and he did not want to turn the ball over against them to help the cause. They trailed by one point midway through the second quarter (38-37), but things changed right before the end of the half, and they found themselves down 69-56. His team held up their end being a +4 (21-17) in turnover margin. Rivers’ biggest issue was the former two-time MVP Steph Curry and the impact he had on the game from start to finish.
"Curry has destroyed us all year," Rivers said. He had a game-high 38 points (20 in the 1st half) to go along with 15 rebounds and 7 assists.
He knocked down eight 3-pointers (most in post-season history), but his impact on the game was also felt in other ways. His game-high 15 rebounds were the most in his post-season career. He was comfortable out there and the primary defender (Gilgeous-Alexander) seemed to be caught out of position for most of game.
Photo By: By Anthony Slater
Two-time Finals MVP Kevin Durant had 23 points (8-16) FG and was ejected with just under five minutes remaining in the game after a back-and-forth battle with Clippers guard Patrick Beverley.
Durant spoke about the feisty guard after the game:
"You know what he's going to bring to the table, just the physicality, mucking up the game a little bit with his physicality, his talking, everything. That's what he brings to each team he plays on. That's his identity," Durant said. "For me, I know that coming into the series. I thought it was fun tonight."
Draymond Green contributed 17 points (5-5 in the first quarter), 7 rebounds and 7 assists.
Klay Thompson had 12 points on just 5-14 from the field.
They were a +9 (42-33) in rebounding and a +7 in assist (31-24).
Photo By: Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group
The Clippers were led by their two workhorses off the bench in Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams. The two combined for almost half the teams points (51) and both had immediate impacts on the floor. Harrell had a team-high 26 points in 30 minutes and was 11-15 from the field. Williams had 25 points and a game-high 9 assists.
Los Angeles did not get much of a scoring output from its starters, as they were outscored by 99-39 by the Warriors. Rookie Gilgeous-Alexander had 18 points in his first playoff game in a team-high 34 minutes. Leading scorer Danilo Gallinari, who received a technical foul close the first half, scored 15 points (4-14) FG. Coach Rivers said regarding the tech, “All I want is consistency. That's what I got a tech for at halftime," Rivers said, noting Gallinari said nothing offensive to deserve a technical.
Heading into Game 2, Rivers may have to make some adjustments on Curry particularly. Gilgeous-Alexander did not do a very good job locating Curry in transition; he was late in some instances, and he needs to understand the magnitude of getting through multiple screens while covering Curry. I believe Doc should consider putting Beverley on Curry in some instances.
Warriors lead 1-0
Game 2: Monday 4/15. 7:30PM PT.