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Sports

AFP
May 16, 2018

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Warriors trounce Rockets

WASHINGTON: Season wins leader Houston battled an entire campaign to seize a home-court edge throughout the NBA playoffs, but defending champion Golden State stole it away with a 119-106 victory Monday.

Kevin Durant scored 37 points and Klay Thompson added 28 for the Warriors to capture the best-of seven Western Conference final opener in a rare series start on the road for a team seeking its third NBA crown in four seasons.

Stephen Curry added 18 points, six rebounds and eight assists while Green contributed nine rebounds and nine assists for the Warriors.NBA scoring champion James Harden netted 41 points to lead the Rockets, who host game two on Wednesday.

Durant scored 17 first-half points and sparked Golden State after the Rockets played aggressively at the start, using two big runs to jump ahead only to have the Warriors overtake them by the middle of the second quarter.

“You know they are going to come out with a lot of energy,” Durant said. “We just tried to take their best punch and keep fighting.”Chris Paul had 23 points and 11 rebounds for the Rockets, who fell behind in the third period and couldn’t catch up in the fourth.

“Every time we made a mistake they made us pay,” Paul said. “Some of it was breakdowns, things we can clean up and do better. We have to communicate better.”Durant says the Warriors know Harden will always be a threat but Golden State must remain poised against a Rockets lineup that can unleash a barrage of 3-pointers if their focus lapses.

“We know James is always going to score over us. We just had to keep solid and keep playing hard,” Durant said.“This Houston team never stops. They are always in the game with 3-point shots. We play a calm steady game, look for a good shot and play good D every time down.”

Thompson had a 3-pointer and two free throws in a 10-2 Warriors run that Durant capped with a 3-pointer for a 100-87 lead with 7:58 remaining in the fourth quarter. Houston never threatened again.

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