No Kevin Durant, no problem for the Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors were led by a dominant performance from Stephen Curry in a 116-94 victory to open the Western Conference finals series against the Portland Trail Blazers. Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts was in no mood to talk about the Curry from the other side of the court when he met with reporters after the game.
Stotts gets snarky about trapping Curry
Curry’s back-to-back 3-pointers going into halftime set the Warriors apart for good. He finished with 36 points, the same as the Trail Blazers’ two leading scorers combined (Damian Lillard had 19; CJ McCollum and Moe Harkless each had 17).
It was a complete flip from the series against the Houston Rockets in which Curry had an uncharacteristic showing from the floor with the exception of Game 6. One reporter asked about the comparison in the post-game press conference:
Houston had some success trapping Steph and really getting out on him. Is this sustainable for you guys to keep dropping the bigs so far off —
And Stotts was having none of it, delivering the driest snark imaginable.
Reporter: Houston had success trapping Steph...
Terry Stotts: Didn't he score 33 in the second half on them?? Yeah, we'll look at that... #RipCity
Postgame video brought to you by @DriveToyota pic.twitter.com/iK5FT8u32O
— NBC Sports Northwest (@NBCSNorthwest) May 15, 2019
Stotts: Did they — I can’t remember, when he had 33 (points) in the second half, were they trapping then?
Stotts: They were? And he scored 33 in the second half
Stotts: OK, yeah, we’ll look at that.
They’re not going to look at that.
Steph Curry’s 3s match career playoff high
Curry’s went 12-of-23 from the floor, including a 9-for-15 mark from behind the 3-point line. His nine 3-pointers tied a career playoff high and seven of those shots were uncontested, per ESPN.
Portland dropped its bigs back as if the Warriors were going to attack the basket and the Splash Brothers took advantage. Klay Thompson scored 26 points and went 10-for-24 from the floor, including 3-for-9 from behind the arc.
Lillard called it “very poor execution defensively on our part” that allowed the Warriors to come off screens and hit “practice shots,” via ESPN.
Stotts told the media he didn’t think the defense did too badly until the final quarter, when it allowed the Warriors 39 points to cruise to a victory.
"Well, to be honest, other than the fourth quarter, the game defensively was manageable. They got loose in the fourth quarter and had 39 in the fourth quarter, but going into the fourth quarter down six, we were finding ways to hang in on a night we were struggling offensively. So certainly, they got loose. It's a combination of how well they move without the ball and pick-and-rolls. Curry and Thompson move well without the ball. I'm sure pick-and-rolls were part of it, bit it's also their movement and transition."
Curry’s performance was a continued showcase from Game 6, in which he scored all 33 of his points in the second half and 23 of them in the final quarter. He had 16 of the team’s final 19 points to clinch the series.
And yes, the Rockets were using a trap defense while that was going down. Stotts doesn’t seem inclined to take the suggestion and try it out for size but the Trail Blazers will need to find a way to shut down the Warriors offense and Curry. If that’s even possible.
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