Stephen Curry had 21 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, Golden State’s defense held Luka Dončić in check, and the Warriors beat the Dallas Mavericks 112-87 on Wednesday night for a 1-0 lead in the Western Conference finals.
Dončić scored 20 points but shot just 6-for-18 and 3-for-10 from deep. He made back-to-back 3-pointers late in the first half to get his team within nine at the break, but Curry and Klay Thompson helped the Warriors pull away in the second half.
Jalen Brunson scored 14 points but missed all five of his 3s for the surprising Mavs, who stunned the top-seeded Suns in a 123-90 thumping in Game 7 on Sunday in Phoenix.
Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is Friday night at Chase Center, where the raucous, yellow-clad sellout crowd brought back memories of that 2007 “We Believe” Warriors playoff team that shocked the No. 1-seeded Mavericks in a six-game first-round upset at Oracle Arena.
That helped propel Golden State back to prominence. The Warriors reached five straight NBA Finals from 2015-19 but missed the playoffs the past two years before this run. Now, they’re one win closer to getting back to the big stage.
Andrew Wiggins added 19 points, getting Golden State going by making six of his first eight shots on the way to shooting 8-for-17.
Dončić received a scratch across his face early from a first-quarter swipe by Wiggins. The mark went from the bridge of his nose across his right cheek under the eye. Dončić also tugged at his troublesome right shoulder that has been taped previously during these playoffs.
Stopping Dončić is the tall task this time after the Warriors already handled two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokić in the first round, then Ja Morant early last series before his knee injury.
Curry hit two quick 3s in sparking a 10-2 burst to begin the third for a Golden State squad that eliminated Memphis in a six-game semifinal series. Thompson scored all of his 15 points after halftime, his first of the game on a layup at the 10:22 mark of the third after missing his first four shots.
Curry, last season’s scoring champ, missed his initial five 3-point tries — four in the first — before connecting with 50 seconds left in the first half when he was 1-for-7. But he got involved other ways by dishing out four assists and grabbing seven rebounds in the first half.
Kevon Looney remained in the starting lineup for Steve Kerr, as the coach made his return to the bench after sitting out the final three games against Memphis with COVID-19.
Looney finished with 10 points, five rebounds and four assists after coming in to start in the Game 6 clincher against the Grizzlies.
Coach Jason Kidd’s Mavericks couldn’t keep up in a drastic contrast of styles featuring the slow-paced Dallas attack and up-tempo Warriors.
“We would like to play our pace, but the Warriors have a unique pace,” Kidd said. “They’re going to get out and put a lot of pressure on your defense in transition. We have to be cautious of that. We don’t want a track meet.”
Reporting by Associated Press.
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