Warriors snuff out Trailblazers with sweep despite missing Kerr

Golden State advanced to the second round of the NBA playoffs.

Jaime Valdez —X02835
Apr 24

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Golden State Warriors wasted no time exerting their authority in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series with the Portland Trail Blazers.With Stephen Curry leading the way and each of his teammates doing his part, the Warriors dominated from the opening tip in a 128-103 rout of the Trail Blazers Monday night at Moda Center.The two-time defending Western Conference champions swept the best-of-seven series. The Warriors now await the winner of the first-round series between the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Clippers, which is tied at two games apiece.Curry bombed in 37 points, dished out eight assists and grabbed seven rebounds despite sitting out the entire fourth quarter.The Warriors jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the game’s first three minutes and never looked back. Golden State led 45-22 after one period, tying the NBA record for the most points scored in the first quarter of a playoff game.”There was a sense of urgency,” said Curry, who made 12 of 20 shots from the field, including 7 of 11 from 3-point range. “There was a nice energy to us before the game. We were kind of loose but focused. It showed in the first six minutes, and we never let up.”Draymond Green scored 21 points and Klay Thompson added 18 for the Warriors, who shot 53.5 percent from the field, including 17 of 29 (58.6 percent) from 3-point range.”We wanted to finish the series here,” said Thompson, who scored 16 of his 18 points in the first half. “We didn’t want to go back to (Oakland for a Game 5).”Kevin Durant returned to the Warriors’ lineup after missing two games with a left calf injury, and he scored 10 points and hit both his 3-point attempts in just 20 minutes of action.Damian Lillard scored 34 points and Al-Farouq Aminu had 25 for the Trail Blazers.”(The Warriors) showed their championship pedigree tonight,” Lillard said. “When you can’t sustain your mental focus against them, in five minutes you can be down 25 points.”That nearly happened Monday night. Portland started 1 of 11 from the field; the Warriors hit 12 of their first 14 attempts, and their lead was 28-5 six minutes into the game.”Indescribable,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said of the Warriors’ start. “They came out energized, focused. We were slow to react and couldn’t get it going.”The Warriors hiked the difference to 41-13 with 2 1/2 minutes left in the first quarter. With Curry scoring 21 points, Golden State carried a 72-48 advantage into the half.Golden State scored the first six points of the third quarter to forge a 78-48 lead. The Warriors increased the edge to 91-58 on a Curry 3-pointer with seven minutes left in the third quarter.Portland got no closer than 23 points the rest of the way.”That was unbelievable,” acting Golden State coach Mike Brown said. “Our guys were locked in on both ends of the floor. Everything we did, we tried to do at a high level, and it worked.”Portland shot only 38.8 percent from the field and never made a serious run at the Warriors.”I think it was much more about them and how good they are,” Stotts said. “We didn’t play as well as we need to, but they showed why they’re a championship team.”The Warriors wanted to end the series Monday night for several reasons.”You don’t want to let go of the rope and give the other team any kind of confidence or momentum,” Curry said. “The way we showed up in the first quarter said a lot about our mindset and focus. The way we played tonight on both ends of the floor is a great recipe for success down the road — moving the ball, swarming on defense, turning defense into easy offense and using all the talent that we have on the floor.”