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Golden State rolls in opener

by The Associated Press | May 19, 2022 at 2:30 a.m.
Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) reacts after scoring and being fouled behind Dallas Mavericks forward Maxi Kleber (42) and guard Luka Doncic, right, during the first half of Game 1 of the NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference finals in San Francisco, Wednesday, May 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

SAN FRANCISCO -- Once Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson slowed down, caught their breath and stopped rushing shots, the Splash Brothers got on a roll that proved too much for Dallas to stop.

Especially because Andrew Wiggins worked end to end to make sure Luka Doncic couldn't get going.

Curry had 21 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, Golden State held Doncic in check and the Warriors beat the Mavericks 112-87 on Wednesday night for a 1-0 lead in the Western Conference finals.

"Just make him work, that was the main thing," Wiggins said.

Doncic scored 20 points but shot just 6 for 18 and 3 of 10 from deep. He made back-to-back three-pointers late in the first half to get his team within 54-45 at the break, but Curry and Thompson heated up and helped the Warriors pull away in the second half.

"A great job. That's it," Doncic said. "They did a great job."

Jalen Brunson scored 14 points but missed all five of his three-pointers 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 led by Baron Davis 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 consecutive NBA Finals from 2015-19 but missed the playoffs the past two years before this run.

Wiggins added 19 points, getting Golden State going by making six of his first eight shots on the way to shooting 8 for 17. Jordan Poole also scored 19 off the bench.

Doncic received a scratch across his face early from a first-quarter swipe by Wiggins. The mark -- "makes me look tough," he quipped -- went from the bridge of the star guard's nose across his right cheek under the eye. Doncic also tugged at his troublesome right shoulder that has been taped previously during these playoffs.

"They did a really good job. Wiggins picking him up full court," Mavs Coach Jason Kidd said. "They went box-and-one, they went zone. We understood coming into the series that we were going to see that. We'll go back and look at the video and see what we can do better."

Stopping Doncic, who was averaging 31.5 points in the playoffs, is the tall task this time after the Warriors already handled two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokic of Denver in the first round, then Ja Morant early last series before his knee injury.

"I thought Wiggs was fantastic," Coach Steve Kerr said. "Doncic is as difficult a cover as there is in this league. ... It's important to make him work. He's so good. Any great player in the league you're trying to limit the damage that they do."

Curry hit two quick three-pointers 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.

"I didn't have a field goal in the first half but that will never discourage me," Thompson said. "I will always hunt my shot."

Curry, last season's scoring champ, missed his initial five three-point tries before connecting with 50 seconds left in the first half. But he got involved other ways by dishing out four assists and grabbing seven rebounds in the first half.

The last time he led the Warriors in rebounding in a playoff game was Game 3 at Toronto in 2019, when he had eight.

Kevon Looney remained in the starting lineup for Kerr as the coach made his return to the bench after sitting out the final three games against Memphis with covid-19.

"It was great to be back. I missed being out there with the guys," Kerr said. "Amazing atmosphere here at Chase and we're excited to keep going."

Looney finished with 10 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists after coming in to start the Game 6 clincher against the Grizzlies.

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, they're going to get out and put a lot of pressure on your defense in transition," Kidd said. "We have to be cautious of that. We don't want a track meet."

At a glance

WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL

WEDNESDAY’S GAME

Golden State 112, Dallas 87

Golden State leads series 1-0.

EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL

TODAY’S GAME

All times Central

Boston at Miami, 7:30 p.m.

Miami leads series 1-0.

  photo  Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) shoots between Golden State Warriors center Kevon Looney (5) and guard Klay Thompson (11) during the first half of Game 1 of the NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference finals in San Francisco, Wednesday, May 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)
 
 
  photo  Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, left, is defended by Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry during the first half of Game 1 of the NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference finals in San Francisco, Wednesday, May 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)
 
 
  photo  Dallas Mavericks forward Reggie Bullock shoots against the Golden State Warriors during the first half of Game 1 of the NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference finals in San Francisco, Wednesday, May 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)
 
 
  photo  Dallas Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson, right, is defended by Golden State Warriors guard Jordan Poole (3) during the first half of Game 1 of the NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference finals in San Francisco, Wednesday, May 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
 
 
  photo  Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson, middle, drives to the basket against Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, right, during the first half of Game 1 of the NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference finals in San Francisco, Wednesday, May 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)
 
 
  photo  Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, left, shoots against Golden State Warriors center Kevon Looney during the first half of Game 1 of the NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference finals in San Francisco, Wednesday, May 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)
 
 
  photo  Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr gestures toward players during the first half of his team's Game 1 of the NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference finals against the Dallas Mavericks in San Francisco, Wednesday, May 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)
 
 
  photo  Golden State Warriors center Kevon Looney (5) dunks against Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) during the first half of Game 1 of the NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference finals in San Francisco, Wednesday, May 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
 
 
  photo  Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, right, is defended by Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins during the first half of Game 1 of the NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference finals in San Francisco, Wednesday, May 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
 
 

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