After a dominating series against the Houston Rockets, the Golden State Warriors were confident entering the second-round of the playoffs. The Portland Trail Blazers, on the other hand, were coming off a hard-fought seven-game series against the injured Los Angeles Clippers.
Portland managed to sneak into the second round thanks in part to the absence of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Their luck seemed to run out this afternoon. Golden State, who were playing without their superstar Steph Curry, cruised to an easy win over the struggling Blazers.
No Steph, no problem
When one star falls, two more shall rise. Today's game was the perfect example of that. Klay Thompson absolutely dominated the court. He scored a quick 18 points (7-10 FG) in the first quarter, outscoring the entire Blazers lineup. Draymond Green had a monster game, performing exceptionally well in every category. Thanks to their efforts, the Warriors were leading by 20 heading into the second period. The scoring didn't stop there, however, as the Warriors scored 65 by the half. Portland was held to just 51, allowing Golden State to lead by 14.
The third quarter was much of the same for the Warriors. Green and Thompson fired off on the Blazers, making buckets after buckets. However, the most notable part of the third quarter was an incident involving Anderson Varejao and Gerald Henderson. After a collision between the two, Varejao and Henderson shoved each other, leading to each player earning a technical foul. Varejao headed to the bench but Henderson continued to argue with him, which led to both players being ejected from the game.
After the chaos simmered down, the Warriors clutch scoring and great defense from Andrew Bogut helped them seal the deal for their first victory of the series.
A total team effort
While Thompson had a hot night, he wasn't the sole contributor to the Warrior's victory. All five starters finished in double-figures in regards to scoring. Shaun Livingston stepped up in place of Curry and started at point guard. He finished with 12 points, six assists, and four rebounds. Center Andrew Bogut ended the night with 10 points, 12 rebounds, and three emphatic blocks. His lockdown defense was crucial in stopping the Blazers offense. Thompson was the leading scorer for the Warriors. He scored a playoff career-high 37 points along with five assists and five rebounds. Draymond Green was the other big scorer, finishing with 23 points, 13 rebounds, 11 assists, and three blocks. An all-around perfect game for the big man. Harrison Barnes ended his game with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Golden State's bench, on the other hand, stayed quiet. Andre Iguodala, Leonardo Barbosa, and Marreese Speights all finished with six points. Varejao scored four and grabbed two boards before his ejection.
For the Blazers, Damian Lillard had a great night. He scored 30 points along with five assists. The rest of the starters had decent numbers. Al-Farouq Aminu nailed 15 points and grabbed four boards. C.J. McCollum had 12 points, 3 assists, and 3 rebounds. Forward Maurice Harkless scored 10 on 4-12 shooting. Mason Plumlee only managed to score a single point but did manage to grab 12 rebounds. The biggest contributors on the bench were Allen Crabbe and Ed Davis. Crabbe scored nicely with 15 points on 6-9 shooting along with six rebounds. Davis had 11 with seven rebounds before fouling out late in the fourth. Against any other team, their effort might've been enough to grab a win. But, the Warriors aren't any other team.
The Warriors and the Trail Blazers face off again on Tuesday in Oakland. Golden State will look to continue their dominance and make a statement over the weak Blazers while Portland will try and prove they're anything but that. One thing's for sure, someone's going to be proven wrong.