Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (L) shoots a three-pointer over San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge (R) during the second half of the Western Conference first round Playoffs at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, USA, Apr. 14, 2018. EPA-EFE/JOHN G. MABANGLO
Oakland, USA, Apr 14 (efe-epa).- The Golden State Warriors began their bid to win a third NBA championship in four years with an easy 113-92 victory at home over the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday in Game One of the Western Conference playoffs first round.
After enduring a lethargic end to the regular season, which saw them lose 10 of their last 17 games, the number 2-seed Warriors blew the seventh-seeded Spurs away in their post-season curtain raiser, despite being unable to call on their undisputed star Steph Curry, sidelined with a knee injury.
With Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, ably supported by Draymond Green and JaVale McGee, the reigning NBA champions had enough firepower to overcome Curry’s absence.
Durant and McGee made the difference in the first half as San Antonio failed lay a glove on Golden State, who took a 16-point lead into half-time.
Durant ended the evening 24 points, seven assists and eight rebounds, while McGee posted a season-high 15 points, 9 of which came during the first quarter, when he also made a steal and a block as he helped stifle the Spurs offense.
The home team continued in the same vein in the second half, with Klay Thompson finding his range from distance, sinking five out of six three-pointers as the Warriors showed that despite their late season lethargy, they will again be the team to be beat in the 2018 post season.
Thompson led the scoring for the home team, ending the game with 27 points, while Draymond Green had a double-double of 12 points and 11 assists.
The Spurs suffered from the continued absence of star player Kawhi Leonard, who has been out since January, and was not at the Oracle Arena on Saturday, raising serious doubts about his long-term future in San Antonio.
They were never able to ruffle Golden State’s feathers, shooting only 40 percent from the field and 41 percent of three-pointers, while only taking 30 rebounds to Golden State’s 51.
Rudy Gay was their highest scorer with 15 points, with LaMarcus Aldridge and Bryn Forbes adding 14 each as the visitors were kept at bay in Oakland.
“With Steph out, the game’s not going to be as free-flowing. So it’s got to be a little bit more methodical. Our intensity was so great tonight and our focus was there”, Thompson said about his team’s performance in the absence of their offensive leader Curry.
“We’re a championship ball club, we know what it takes this time of year in order to win and we wanted to get back to that, regardless what everyone’s saying”, Draymond Green said.
“We know what we’re capable of”, he added.
Game Two of the best-of-seven series will be played on Monday at the Oracle Arena in Oakland.