The Golden State Warriors had little trouble defeating the Portland Trail Blazers 110-81 Wednesday night on JaVale McGee’s 15 points, five rebounds and four blocks. The Warriors now lead the Blazer 2-0 in round one of the NBA Playoffs.
Despite the lopsided result, Golden State’s usual stars struggled to find a rhythm. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson shot 12-35 for 35 total points, a sub-par night for two of the league’s best shooters.
With Kevin Durant (calf), Shaun Livingston (finger) and Matt Barnes (ankle) all sitting out, the stage seemed set for Portland to tie up the series, or at least give Golden State a run for their money.
The Warrior reserves had other plans.
Zaza Pachulia and James Michael McAdoo combined for 17 points and six rebounds, ending the night with a plus 16 total efficiency rating. David West contributed eight points and four assists of his own in addition to his usual defensive presence.
Patrick McCaw continued to build confidence and assert his aggression with nine points, five rebounds and a big-league block from behind against Damian Lillard. Teammate and fellow shooting guard Thompson called it McCaw’s best game of the season so far.
Ian Clark also made an impact on the final result, banking 13 points in 25 minutes. Clark has been outstanding against the Blazers this year with an average of 13 points on 76 percent shooting during the regular season. He achieved a career-high 23 points on 9-11 shots back in December.
Against all other teams, Clark averaged 6.8 points per game on 49 percent shooting this season.
But it was McGee who stole the show. McGee’s energy and athleticism on the offensive and defensive glass fueled his teammates through a rocky second quarter when Portland managed to cut the deficit to as low as a single point. He lead the Warriors in scoring at the end of the second half and went 7-7 from the field to end the evening.
McGee teamed up with Draymond Green to anchor the Warrior defense, who held Portland’s fiery backcourt of Lillard and C.J. McCollum to just 23 points combined. They combined for 75 points in Game 1.
After a night like this, the Warriors should feel confident about their chances to advance to the second round with or without Durant. Play turned somewhat sloppy in the first half and Curry and Thompson were hardly in top form, yet Golden State still managed a 29-point victory.
More than just a cushion to their series lead, this game proved how deep the Warrior bench truly is. Should injury continue to plague the Warriors later in the playoffs, this game should serve as an encouraging reminder of the many weapons Golden State has at its disposal.
Game 3 between the Warriors and Trail Blazers will take place Saturday night in Portland.
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