Warriors Use Fourth Quarter Burst to Beat Blazers

The Warriors lead their first round series with the Trail Blazers one game to zero after earning a 121-109 victory in Game 1 on Sunday. Kevin Durant led Golden State with 32 points to go along with 10 rebounds, recording a double-double in his first playoff game as a member of the Warriors. Stephen Curry added 29 points, while Draymond Green stuffed the stat sheet with 19 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists, five blocks and three steals.

Portland’s backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum did just about everything they could to put the Trail Blazers over the top on Sunday, but it didn’t prove to be enough in the end. The game featured 15 ties and 22 lead changes, but Golden State seized the momentum at the start of the fourth quarter and rode it all the way to a Game 1 win.

Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry carried the majority of the scoring burden for the Warriors, and that was clear from the tip. After Zaza Pachulia opened the scoring with a jumper, the two All-Stars would combine for Golden State’s next 16 points, although they weren’t able to generate much separation. Lillard pulled the Blazers even at 24-24 with three free throws at the 1:31 mark, after which the Warriors responded with a 7-1 run on their way to a 32-27 lead at the end of the first quarter. Portland never led throughout the entire opening frame, and things could have been a lot worse if not for Lillard and McCollum, who tallied 12 points apiece.

McCollum scored the first four points of the second quarter to tie the game once again, and his three-pointer at the 8:30 mark would give the Trail Blazers their first lead of the day at 37-36. He continued his one-man show for there, accounting for Portland’s next eight points before he was subbed out. He then gave way to Lillard, who scored nine of the Trail Blazers’ final 11 points of the half, which came to a close with the score tied at 56 a side.

McCollum would open the second half with a jumper, but that would tie Portland’s largest lead of the entire contest. It remained a neck-and-neck game through the first eight minutes of the third quarter, as whenever one team would score, the other would answer right back.

Neither the Warriors nor Blazers would account for consecutive field goals until Curry followed a Klay Thompson jumper with a three-pointer to put Golden State in front 80-77 with 3:30 left in the third frame. Durant followed that sequence up with a three-point play, after which Curry added another two free throws, and the Warriors never trailed for the rest of the contest. The Trail Blazers, however, wouldn’t go away quietly. A McCollum jumper and a Pat Connaughton three-point play in the final 10 seconds tied the score at 88-88 heading into the fourth and final frame.

That was as close as Portland would get, though, as Draymond Green drained a three-pointer 19 seconds into the fourth quarter to give the Dubs the lead, and Golden State never looked back from there. The Warriors ratcheted up the defense and held the Trail Blazers to just two points through the first five-and-a-half minutes of the quarter, over the course of which they’d build their first double-digit lead of the game. A 9-2 Portland run in response pulled the Blazers within 105-99 with 5:15 left to play, but Draymond Green snatched back the momentum with a terrific two-way sequence that would prove to be a defining moment in the game. After tipping in a missed shot on one end, Green blocked Lillard’s layup attempt on the other 12 seconds later, and Durant’s layup on the resulting possession rebuilt Golden State’s advantage to 10 points.

Durant would follow that sequence up with two more jumpers in succession, and that would provide all the scoring the Warriors would need to earn the victory. His final field goal of the game, a 9-foot jumper with 50 seconds left, would give Golden State their largest lead of the entire day, as the Dubs coasted the rest of the way to the eventual 121-109 victory.

With the win, Golden State now leads the first round series 1-0. They’ll attempt to defend their home court once more when the two sides meet again for Game 2 on Wednesday night.

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