The Golden State Warriors kicked off the postseason with quite a bang Saturday evening, defeating the LA Clippers 121-104, in Oakland. The game, though largely controlled by the Dubs, had its back-and-forth moments and plenty of testy, playoff-style face-offs.
Kevin Durant, who has had some very high-profile issues with in-game officiating of late, was one who took particular exception to the aggressive style of play employed by Clippers' coach Doc Rivers and his squad. Covered often by LA point guard and defensive stud, Patrick Beverley, KD was involved in what appeared to mostly be playful yet spirited banter with his opponent. However, at the five minute mark of the fourth quarter — the game basically over — Durant went to strip Beverley and seemed to push the much-smaller guard into the scorer's table. The two had to be separated and were each assessed technical fouls.
At 4:41, just 19 seconds later, KD and Beverley both seemed tired of each other's antics and began to get after each other once again. The officials, at that point, had had it. Both Durant and Patrick Beverley were subsequently assessed another set of double-techs and ejected from the game. Durant finished with an efficient 23 points on 8 of 16 shooting, four rebounds, three assists, one steal, and three blocks. He also added a three-pointer on two tries.
No KD was not a problem for the Warriors in the fourth. Curry had more than picked up the slack, carrying his team through a couple of important stretches. Overall, on the night, Curry was All-World. Scoring 38 points on 11 of 16 shooting, including 8 of 12 from three, Steph added 15 rebounds, seven assists, and one block. Draymond Green also had a nice game, providing 17 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, one steal, and one block. Usually not the poster child for efficiency, Green's night was refreshingly crisp, as he shot seven of 12 from the floor, hitting two of his four three-point shot attempts.
Boogie Cousins, in his long awaited postseason debut, was largely ineffective and had a difficult time matching up with LA's Montrezl Harrell, who scored 26 points off the bench for Rivers and Clips. DeMarcus also had issues with foul trouble, exiting the game with his sixth foul midway through the fourth. Klay Thompson was mostly futile on the offensive end, but, as always, brought it on the defensive end of the floor. Every time Cousins sat, Kevon Looney would enter and restore defensive order with a solid effort on the Clippers' Harrell.
The teams will meet for game two of their seven-game first round series, on Monday night, in Oakland. The Warriors should easily handle the Clippers, but underestimating any playoff team is highly discouraged. As it currently sits, the Dubs are huge favorites to get through Los Angeles and move on to the second round.
On The Night:
Steph Curry made NBA Playoff history, passing Ray Allen for most career made three-point shots in the postseason all-time.