OAKLAND -- Though there were a few perilous moments Saturday night, most of which were salvaged by Stephen Curry, never did the Clippers offer a legitimate threat to the Warriors.
The defending back-to-back NBA champs rolled to a 121-104 win over Los Angeles, taking a 1-0 lead in their best-of-seven first-round NBA playoff series.
Behind Curry’s sharpshooting and spells of excellent defense, the Warriors took a double-digit lead midway through the third quarter and maintained it until the final horn.
The only suspense in the fourth quarter came when Kevin Durant and Clippers guard Patrick Beverley were ejected after a brief skirmish. It was, after all, their third conflict of game.
Here are three takeaways from the victory that delighted a vociferous sellout crowd at Oracle Arena:
Curry does it all
One of the many NBA narratives that survives even when debunked is that Curry doesn’t thrive in the postseason. It lives on in some quarters even as he, well, thrives.
His latest rebuttal was shouted through a megaphone: game-high 38 points (11-of-16 shooting from the field, 8 of 12 from deep), career-high 15 rebounds, seven assists and, in testimony of toughness, standing in and taking a change from a locomoting JaMychal Green, who is six inches taller and 35 pounds heavier.
Curry might have anticipated being defended by pesky nemesis Beverley, but Clippers coach Doc Rivers put the longer Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on that assignment. No matter.
When asked Friday about the status of the ankle tweak he sustained Tuesday, Curry gave a thumbs-up. One day later, he provided emphatic proof.
Playing 37 minutes and finishing plus-27, Curry put his stamp all over this game.
Hamptons 5 still the turbo lineup
Despite the damage that DeMarcus Cousins can do to an offense, he was on the bench when the Warriors played their most impressive basketball.
When the Clippers whittled their deficit from 11 to one with 6:37 left in the second quarter, Warriors coach Steve Kerr turned to the Hamptons 5, inserting Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala to join Curry, Durant and Klay Thompson.
The Warriors outscored LA 26-14, over the remainder of the half with that quintet responsible for nearly all of surge. They shot 8 of 11 from the field during that stretch, while limiting the Clippers to 5-of-15 shooting and forcing two turnovers. That built a 69-56 lead at the half.
The formula remains. That lineup speeds the tempo and disrupts offenses, leading to devastating transition buckets.
Rough start for Boogie
Cousins, making his playoff debut, clearly was amped up. Maybe too amped up.
He fouled out with 7:16 remaining, having played 21 minutes.
It wasn’t that Cousins was awful -- he just never came close to finding the kind of rhythm the other starters did. He scored nine points on 4-of-12 shooting, grabbed nine rebounds and had four assists. He was minus-17 for his night’s work.
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What went wrong for Cousins? It looked as if he was trying too hard at times. He was frustrated with some of the officiating.
There is no doubt Cousins will get better. But the first playoff game of his career was memorable only for one reason: The Warriors emerged victorious.