Durant shines in Warriors playoff debut in Game 1 win

On Sunday, the No. 8-seeded Portland Trail Blazers ultimately were overmatched against the Golden State Warriors and lost, 121-109.

But he was part of a 135-90 debacle on December 17 here — the Warriors' largest margin of victory in the rivalry — that prompted coach Terry Stotts to say afterward, "It's embarrassing to get beat by 45".

Meanwhile, Jimmy Butler scored 15 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter as the Chicago Bulls held on to beat the Boston Celtics 106-102 in the opener of a first-round Eastern Conference series. "We let them get to their spots in the first half", Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. Green's undeniable will and game-changing force so defined the run that I don't blame Green for thinking he could take off from 12 feet out and dunk the ball.

As the final period got underway, Ian Clark did what he often does to give the Blazers fits and chipped in during a 15-2 run on the way to 12 points off the bench.

Kevin Durant looks like he didn't miss a game. A solid contributor on offense, his defensive energy stood out, particularly in the fourth quarter. Who else could do what Draymond just did tonight?

The Warriors defense was the difference in the fourth stanza.

The Warriors went from allowing 47.6 percent from the field in the first half to 39.2 in the second, including 29.2 in the decisive fourth, plus the six turnovers. Just like teams playing defense need to be aware of where Curry is at all times, Portland needs to be aware of Green playing free safety and be prepared to make the extra pass out of the lane when penetrating.

After half time the Warriors struggled to maintain a series of small leads.

Here's the X-factor for him: Green has to keep doing what he did in Game 1 against the Portland Trail Blazers while also staying away from the stuff that has gotten him into trouble.

Game 2 is Wednesday at Oracle Arena.

Draymond Green nearly had the first 5×5 in in league playoff history (a 5×5 is when a player records 5 categories with at least 5 things in each category) however, he was two steals shy.

Through all the chatter that may occur in this series, Lillard said he respects and appreciates what Green brings to the game. McCollum had them reconsidering, at least for a half. Green emphatically blocked a shot by Noah Vonleh in the third as the Portland center playing in place of Nurkic was going up with one hand to dunk.

Although the final margin shows a comfortable Warriors win, this game was neck-and-neck for all but the final 12 minutes.

McCollum admitted to the verbal calf jab, and made it clear that he's not going to shy away from mixing it up with Green word-for-word.

"He's quick reacting and the thing with him is that if you beat somebody off the dribble, he's going to be there", Stotts said. "It's just going to raise the level of my game because I take it as a challenge".

Green finished the game with an astounding 19 points, nine rebounds, five assists, seven blocks and four steals, leaving him just one steal shy from the coveted 5x5 line - it would have been the first in playoff history. And that's not good news for the Blazers, because it means the Warriors didn't rely exclusively on their MVPs to win the game. They took that swing, but fell a quarter short of landing the punch. But we knew at some point you have to make them miss.

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