Programming note: Watch the pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders on Thursday afternoon at 4:30, streaming live on the MyTeams app.
The Warriors beat the Trail Blazers, 116-94, in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals on Tuesday night.
So it was basically a perfect performance, right? Nope.
Although Golden State held Portland to 36 percent shooting overall and forced 21 turnovers, the Blazers shot 31 free throws. In fact, the disparity in attempts through three quarters was staggering at 22 to three.
"That's what kept them in the game through three quarters. We really dominated every other area, but all those free throws kept them in it," Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said Wednesday evening on KNBR. "That is something we'd like to do a better job of -- keeping them off the foul line and trying to force them to score."
When they didn't foul, the Dubs did an excellent job of keeping Portland's star guards in check.
Damian Lillard went 4-for-12 from the field and committed seven turnovers, while CJ McCollum went 7-for-19 overall and turned the ball over three times.
If the Warriors defend without fouling, that triggers fastbreak opportunities.
"The other problem with the free throws is that they get their defense set up and we got to play against the halfcourt," Kerr explained. "We want to keep the game going, we want to get into transition.
"It's tough to do that when you're fouling."
The Warriors want to see more of this in Game 2 on Thursday night:
Look at how much ground Draymond Green covers to block this Harkless corner 3. Just incredible (and it leads to a Klay dunk in transition) pic.twitter.com/BBTah8vT09— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) May 15, 2019
This transition 3-pointer for Steph Curry is all a result of awesome defense by Klay Thompson pic.twitter.com/Jvw8qcwZcn— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) May 15, 2019
Watch how Draymond barks out instructions to Klay, then gets to his helpside position and steals Lillard’s pass. Awesome (but Curry’s transition pass wasn’t awesome) pic.twitter.com/06uz63aZuE— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) May 15, 2019
When a team takes a 2-0 lead in a best-of-seven series, it wins about 93 percent of the time.
With this in mind, the Warriors should expect the Blazers to play like their season is on the line Thursday night at Oracle Arena.