NBA: Warriors open title defense by handling Clippers

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Apr 14 2019 11:24 AM

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) celebrates against the LA Clippers during the first quarter in game one of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. Kyle Terada, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Stephen Curry complemented a game-high 38 points with a career playoff-high 15 rebounds in a historic performance Saturday night as the Golden State Warriors opened defense of their NBA title with a 121-104 win over the Los Angeles Clippers in a volatile Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round series in Oakland, Calif.

Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is Monday night, with the Warriors, the top seed in the West, once again earning home-court advantage.

The matchup of familiar Pacific Division rivals featured the ejections of the Warriors' Kevin Durant and Clippers' Patrick Beverley, each of whom was nailed with a second technical foul for a verbal altercation near midcourt midway through the fourth quarter.

Curry's 38 points included 8-for-12 shooting on 3-pointers on a night when he passed Ray Allen (385) for the NBA all-time career playoff record. Curry finished the game with 386 career 3s.

Draymond Green provided a surprising offensive spark with 17 points on 7-for-12 shooting to go with seven rebounds and a team high-tying seven assists, helping Golden State win the opener of its first-round series for the sixth consecutive season.

Montrezl Harrell had 26 points and Lou Williams 25 with a game-high nine assists for the Clippers, who are the last Western Conference team to beat the Warriors in a playoff series.

That was in 2014, when they also lost Game 1 before winning four of the last six.

The Warriors led nearly wire-to-wire, but the Clippers remained competitive most of the way by taking advantage of 21 Golden State turnovers and enjoying a 65-22 advantage in points off the bench.

Curry's 38-point game was his 31st in postseason play with 30 or more. The Warriors have gone 28-3 in those games.

His previous high for rebounds in a playoff game was 10, done four times.

Durant contributed 23 points and three blocked shots in 32 minutes, while Klay Thompson added 12 points and DeMarcus Cousins, playing in his first NBA playoff game, collected nine points and nine rebounds before fouling out.

The Warriors shot 49.5 percent for the game and hit 14 of 30 3-point attempts.

Harrell's 26 points came on 11-for-15 shooting and Williams hit 11-for-21 for the Clippers, who shot 40.4 percent overall and 11-for-30 on 3s.

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