Durant, defending champ Warriors get defensive, beat Spurs

Kawhi Leonard has officially been ruled out for the Spurs’ first playoff game against the Warriors on Saturday. More

Kawhi Leonard has officially been ruled out for the Spurs’ first playoff game against the Warriors on Saturday. More

A Golden State Warriors fan holds up a sign in the third quarter of Game 1 of their National Basketball Association first-round playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Saturday, April 14, 2018.

Kevin Durant contributed 24 points, eight rebounds and seven assists while JaVale McGee, plugged into the starting lineup, added 15 points plus a pair of blocks.

Klay Thompson led all scorers with 27 on 11-13 shooting, including 5-6 from beyond the arc.

"We gotta protect Steph from himself and make sure he's good and healthy".

The top-seeded team in the Eastern Conference, Toronto made 16 of 30 3-point attempts, with Miles making four, and Ibaka and Wright each hitting three.

New Orleans dug deep to defeat Portland 97-95 in the late Western Conference game.

Two-time MVP Stephen Curry, who has been sidelined since March 23 with a sprained left knee, did not play in the opening game of the seven-game series.

Curry is not expected to play even a minute in the first round, which puts them in a precarious position heading into a first-round playoff matchup with the San Antonio Spurs.

The Warriors face the Spurs in Game 2 on Monday night.

"We're a championship ball club".

"There's been games that we've won without Steph- a series", Green said.

"We are primed for this", forward Draymond Green said.

"I thought it was important for us to reestablish our defense", Kerr said. "We know. We're going to show that".

In Philadelphia, Ben Simmons had 17 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds in his playoff debut, and the Sixers romped again without Joel Embiid, beating Miami for its 17th straight win. "At the end of the season, our minds weren't on it".

"Today they were on the present".

"Good" was a word Green also used to describe Durant, who scored 11 points in the first quarter to help recharge a Warriors team that was without All-Stars Curry and Thompson for parts of the last month of the regular season. Rudy Gay led the Spurs with 15 points off the bench while LaMarcus Aldridge and Bryn Forbes chipped in 14 each.

Spurs came out more physical and aggressive in the second half, but it didn't matter. "Today we were anxious about the present and came out with a good game plan and executed".

The Sixers outscored the Heat 74-43 in the second half, making full use of an offensive line-up that saw five players finish with double-figures. It was gold and sparkly and looked more like a grill, but we assume it's just a spectacular mouthpiece. "Now we're just going to try to continue to build on that".

Their collective performance to end the regular season, however, was uninspiring. Remember, the Warriors constantly ranked among the better defensive teams during their multiple runs to the NBA Finals.

Aldridge was harassed into 5-for-12 shooting.

Lillard finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and seven assists while McCollum had 19 points.

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