Warriors open title defense by handling Clippers

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Stephen Curry
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) goes for a layup against the Los Angeles Clippers at Oracle Arena. -- KYLE TERADA-USA TODAY SPORTS

LOS ANGELES — Stephen Curry complemented a game-high 38 points with a career-playoff-high 15 rebounds in a historic performance Saturday night as the Golden State Warriors opened defense of their NBA title with a 121-104 win over the Los Angeles Clippers in a volatile Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round series in Oakland, California.

Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is Monday night, with the Warriors, the top seed in the West, once again earning home-court advantage.

The matchup of familiar Pacific Division rivals featured the ejections of the Warriors’ Kevin Durant and Clippers’ Patrick Beverley, each of whom was nailed with a second technical foul for a verbal altercation near midcourt midway through the fourth quarter.

Curry’s 38 points included eight-for-12 shooting on 3-pointers on a night when he passed Ray Allen (385) for the NBA all-time career playoff record. Curry finished the game with 386 career threes.

Draymond Green provided a surprising offensive spark with 17 points on seven-for-12 shooting to go with seven rebounds and a team-high-tying seven assists, helping Golden State win the opener of its first-round series for the sixth consecutive season.

Montrezl Harrell had 26 points, and Lou Williams 25 with a game-high nine assists for the Clippers, who are the last Western Conference team to beat the Warriors in a playoff series.

That was in 2014, when they also lost Game 1 before winning four of the last six.

The Warriors led nearly wire-to-wire, but the Clippers remained competitive most of the way by taking advantage of 21 Golden State turnovers and enjoying a 65-22 advantage in points off the bench.

Curry’s 38-point game was his 31st in postseason play with 30 or more. The Warriors have gone 28-three in those games.

His previous high for rebounds in a playoff game was 10, done four times.

Durant contributed 23 points and three blocked shots in 32 minutes while Klay Thompson added 12 points. DeMarcus Cousins, playing in his first NBA playoff game, collected nine points and nine rebounds before fouling out.

The Warriors shot 49.5% for the game and hit 14 of 30 3-point attempts.

Harrell’s 26 points came on 11-for-15 shooting, and Williams hit 11 of 21 for the Clippers, who shot 40.4% overall and 11-for-30 on threes. — Reuters