Thursday, January 18, 2018
Sports

Curry tweaks ankle as Warriors cruise

OAKLAND, Calif. — Stephen Curry dazzled from long range and drove to the hoop with flair and fire until a tweaked ankle finally slowed him down.

Once he sat for good after three firm requests to coach Steve Kerr about returning, his supporting cast handled the rest.

"Like a kid in timeout over there on the bench," Curry said of his mood.

He still did plenty, scoring 24 as the Warriors beat the Rockets 104-78 Saturday in their playoff opener.

The reigning MVP's status for the next game is uncertain.

"Right now I don't see a scenario I would be out," Curry said, noting that could change if it gets worse or there's risk of further trouble. "Pain tolerance, all that stuff, I kind of know what I can deal with on the court."

Draymond Green added 12 points and 10 rebounds as top-seeded Golden State carried momentum from winning its record 73rd game Wednesday night into a testy playoff opener some 60 hours later.

Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is Monday night at Oracle Arena, and Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Curry is questionable for that one. He will be re-evaluated today.

"You lose the MVP of the NBA, it definitely changes your team," Green said. "There's some concern."

The Warriors topped the 1995-96 Michael Jordan-led Bulls' regular-season record, then immediately made one thing clear: That mark means nothing if they don't bring home back-to-back titles to the East Bay.

James Harden scored 17 and didn't have a free-throw attempt for Houston, held to six field goals in the first quarter of the rematch from last season's Western Conference final, won by Golden State in five.

Dwight Howard had 14 points and 11 rebounds. Harden was limited to four fouls and four points in the first half before helping Houston narrow a 27-point deficit to 16 late in the third.

Curry utterly flustered defensive menace Patrick Beverley. Then, when Jason Terry took a turn at stopping the reigning MVP, Curry pulled up for long 3s and drove the baseline for reverse layups on the left side. He dribbled right through traffic in the paint late in the first half before double-pumping and spinning the ball off the glass.

He didn't slow down until hurting his right ankle just before halftime.

Warriors 104, Rockets 78

HOUSTON (78): Brewer 1-8 1-2 3, Ariza 3-10 1-1 9, Howard 5-10 4-11 14, Beverley 1-7 0-0 2, Harden 7-19 0-0 17, Beasley 1-2 0-0 2, Smith 3-4 0-0 7, Capela 1-4 1-3 3, Terry 3-6 1-1 7, Goudelock 1-2 0-0 2, McDaniels 2-9 0-0 4, Motiejunas 2-3 4-6 8. Totals 30-84 12-24 78.

GOLDEN STATE (104): Barnes 3-12 1-2 7, Green 5-12 1-3 12, Bogut 1-1 0-0 2, Curry 8-13 3-3 24, Thompson 4-14 6-6 16, Iguodala 1-6 0-2 2, Ezeli 4-5 0-2 8, Livingston 3-8 3-4 9, Speights 5-11 2-2 12, Barbosa 4-5 0-0 9, Varejao 0-0 0-0 0, Clark 1-2 0-0 3, Rush 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 39-91 16-24 104.

Houston 15 18 27 18— 78

Golden State 33 27 22 22— 104

3-Point GoalsHouston 6-22 (Harden 3-5, Ariza 2-6, Smith 1-2, Goudelock 0-1, McDaniels 0-1, Terry 0-1, Beverley 0-3, Brewer 0-3), Golden State 10-25 (Curry 5-7, Thompson 2-6, Barbosa 1-1, Clark 1-1, Green 1-3, Iguodala 0-1, Rush 0-2, Speights 0-2, Barnes 0-2). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsHouston 60 (Capela 12), Golden State 66 (Green 10). AssistsHouston 16 (Brewer 6), Golden State 26 (Iguodala 7). Total FoulsHouston 28, Golden State 22. TechnicalsBeverley, Curry, Green. A19,596 (19,596).

GEORGE LEADS PACERS: TORNTOFor Paul George, watching the Pacers miss the playoffs while sidelined by injury last season was a painful experience. Now healthy, he couldn't be happier about being back in the postseason.

George scored 33, Monta Ellis had 15 and visiting Indiana beat the Raptors 100-90 in Game 1 of their series.

George missed all but six games last season after breaking his right leg while playing in a scrimmage with Team USA before the 2014 World Cup. Without their star for much of the season, Indiana slumped to 38-44 and missed the playoffs for the first time in five years.

"That hurt more than the actual break, not getting this team to the playoffs last year," George said. "This means a lot, it means a lot to be back here, it means a lot to be on this stage again."

After shooting 2-of-9 in the first half, George shot 10-of-13 in the second, a performance Pacers coach Frank Vogel called "awesome."

"The biggest reason we won," Vogel said. "Paul's shot-making late in the game was spectacular."

Pacers 100, Raptors 90

INDIANA (100): George 12-22 5-6 33, Allen 2-6 0-0 4, Mahinmi 0-2 1-4 1, G.Hill 3-6 3-5 10, Ellis 5-12 2-2 15, Turner 5-9 0-2 10, S.Hill 1-3 10-10 13, Stuckey 3-7 0-0 7, Lawson 1-4 0-0 2, Miles 2-7 0-0 5, J.Hill 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 34-79 21-29 100.

TORONTO (90): Powell 2-4 1-2 5, Scola 2-4 0-1 4, Valanciunas 4-14 4-4 12, Lowry 3-13 4-9 11, DeRozan 5-19 4-6 14, Patterson 4-5 0-0 9, Carroll 2-4 2-2 6, Biyombo 1-2 4-6 6, Joseph 5-6 7-8 18, Ross 2-8 0-0 5. Totals 30-79 26-38 90.

Indiana 19 24 27 30— 100

Toronto 24 21 22 23— 90

3-Point GoalsIndiana 11-21 (George 4-5, Ellis 3-4, Stuckey 1-2, Miles 1-3, G.Hill 1-3, S.Hill 1-3, Turner 0-1), Toronto 4-19 (Patterson 1-1, Joseph 1-2, Ross 1-3, Lowry 1-7, Carroll 0-1, Powell 0-1, Scola 0-1, DeRozan 0-3). Fouled OutValanciunas. ReboundsIndiana 49 (Miles, Allen 7), Toronto 65 (Valanciunas 19). AssistsIndiana 19 (George 6), Toronto 17 (Lowry 7). Total FoulsIndiana 25, Toronto 27. A19,800 (19,800).

HAWKS HANG ON: Jeff Teague stymied another big Celtics comeback, taking matters into his own hands in the closing minutes to lead the host Hawks to a 102-101 victory.

Teague had 23 points and 12 assists, making sure Atlanta maintained the homecourt edge after Boston rallied from a 19-point deficit.

With the score tied at 88, Teague worked the pick-and-roll to set up a layup for former Gator Al Horford. The Celtics missed and the Hawks again got the ball to Teague, who found Paul Millsap alone under the basket for a dunk that pushed Atlanta to a 92-88 lead with 2:56 left.

Hawks 102, Celtics 101

BOSTON (101): Crowder 5-16 2-2 14, Johnson 2-3 0-0 4, Sullinger 4-14 0-0 9, Thomas 8-21 7-9 27, Bradley 7-16 3-3 18, Turner 4-13 2-2 10, Olynyk 1-3 0-0 2, Smart 5-10 2-3 15, Jerebko 1-6 0-0 2, Hunter 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 37-102 16-19 101.

ATLANTA (102): Bazemore 7-13 8-10 23, Millsap 6-11 1-1 14, Horford 8-17 7-8 24, Teague 7-15 9-11 23, Korver 1-10 0-0 2, Muscala 0-0 0-0 0, Schroder 0-6 0-0 0, Sefolosha 0-3 2-4 2, Hardaway Jr. 0-2 0-1 0, Scott 6-9 0-0 14, Hinrich 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 35-86 27-35 102.

Boston 19 15 31 36— 101

Atlanta 30 21 21 30— 102

3-Point GoalsBoston 11-35 (Thomas 4-10, Smart 3-6, Crowder 2-7, Sullinger 1-1, Bradley 1-7, Turner 0-1, Jerebko 0-3), Atlanta 5-27 (Scott 2-4, Millsap 1-2, Horford 1-3, Bazemore 1-5, Sefolosha 0-1, Hardaway Jr. 0-1, Schroder 0-2, Teague 0-2, Korver 0-7). Fouled OutSullinger. ReboundsBoston 63 (Crowder 10), Atlanta 64 (Horford 12). AssistsBoston 27 (Thomas 8), Atlanta 23 (Teague 12). Total FoulsBoston 32, Atlanta 20. TechnicalsBoston Coach Stevens. Flagrant Fouls—Scott. A18,980 (18,729).

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