Stephen Curry scored 38 points and made eight 3-pointers to give him the most in postseason history, and the top-seeded Golden State Warriors began their quest for a three-peat by running away from the frustrated Los Angeles Clippers for a 121-104 victory in their playoff opener Saturday on a night tempers flared.
Kevin Durant and Patrick Beverley were ejected with 4:41 to go, just 19 seconds after they received double-technicals when Durant stripped Beverley and the Clippers guard fell into the scorer’s table. They both became enraged again and official Ed Malloy immediately sent them both to the locker room. Durant high-fived fans as he exited and the home crowd went into chants of “Beat L.A.!”
Curry shot 8 for 12 from deep to pass Ray Allen (385) for career postseason 3s with 386, had a postseason career-high 15 rebounds, seven assists and the 31st 30-point postseason performance of his career.
Perhaps this old, heated rivalry still has all the testiness of years past – just with new faces all around.
These teams are meeting for just the second time in the postseason after the Clippers took a seven-game, first-round series in 2014 when the California franchises had a deep dislike for each other.
Game 2 is Monday night back at Oracle Arena.
Draymond Green got Golden State going by making all five of his shots in the first quarter on the way to 17 points to go with seven assists and seven rebounds, while Durant scored 23 points as the Warriors ran their postseason winning streak to seven games.
On one of his marvelous 3s, the two-time MVP knocked one down from way back late in the third, nearly did the splits in the air and landed on his behind – still smiling all the while.
Montrezl Harrell scored 26 points and fellow reserve Lou Williams contributed 25 points and nine assists as Los Angeles returned to the playoffs after missing last season following six straight appearances.
Beverley, who missed last Sunday’s 131-104 loss at Oracle because of a right hip pointer and was booed during pregame introductions, didn’t score in the first half and wound up with three points on 1-for-7 shooting, seven assists and seven rebounds.
He and Durant received double-technicals with 5 minutes left before they got into it again.
The Clippers lost their cool on a couple of occasions, and that hurt playing in an already difficult road arena.
Danilo Gallinari’s technical in the final minute of the second only further fueled the home crowd, and Curry capitalized as the Warriors ran to a 69-56 halftime advantage.
Los Angeles played in the final regular-season game at Oracle, then the first playoff game of the last postseason run before the Warriors move to San Francisco and new Chase Center later this year.
DeMarcus Cousins fouled out with 7:16 left. He scored nine points in his playoff debut after a nine-year wait and nearly year-long comeback from last January’s devastating torn left Achilles tendon that required surgery.
Cousins, who played his first game of the season Jan. 18 at the Clippers, missed twice on the Warriors’ initial three possessions but dunked in between those two. Regularly left wide open on the perimeter, Cousins knocked down a 3 from the top at 9:11.
He had nine rebounds and four assists.
Steve Kerr challenged the Warriors – not to mention himself with a self-acknowledged temper – to be more disciplined yelling at the officials. Green was knocked down by Beverley on a no-call early and became enraged but avoided a technical.
“Fans need to understand, it wouldn’t be possible to officiate the games the exact same way in the playoffs as the regular season. The games would take four hours,” Kerr said.
The Clippers had their own costly moments arguing.
Lou Williams and coach Doc Rivers also were heated late in the first half about no fouls being called.
Rivers received a technical for his behavior leaving the court at halftime and Thompson shot a free throw before the third quarter began.
Clippers: The Clippers were 2 of 10 from deep in the first half, when they had only 13 assists. … Los Angeles has lost four straight on the Warriors’ home floor.
Warriors: Curry notched his fifth career double-digit postseason rebounding game. … Durant (3,679) passed Dirk Nowitzki (3,663) for 15th place on the career playoff scoring list. … The Warriors have won seven straight postseason Game 1s and 14 of 15 openers in all – going 16-1 in their first game of a series dating to the 2014-15 season. “It does set a good tone but the beauty of the NBA playoffs is it’s a seven-game series. If you lose it’s not the end of the world,” Kerr said.
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