OAKLAND – Draymond Green was, as he so often is, right in the middle of the action as the Warriors held on for a 110-106 win over Houston in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.
Green contributed by scoring, with 13 points. He grabbed 12 rebounds, to lead all Warriors. He had eight assists, also a team-high.
And then there was his defense. The third-year forward guarded, at one point or another, pretty much every member of the Rockets, from star guard James Harden to star center Dwight Howard. He harassed Howard into three turnovers during a critical stretch of the second quarter.
“Draymond was great on him,” coach Steve Kerr said. “You never know how that’s going to go, but Draymond is one of the best defensive players in the league because he can guard low-post guys and perimeter guys. He can switch onto James Harden, and he can guard Dwight Howard.
“It doesn’t mean he’s always going to get a stop, but he’s always going to put up a fight and he’s got a chance. The way he competes, it’s kind of nice to have him out on the floor. That’s why he played 42 minutes and 47 seconds.”
Green’s minutes total was, by the way, more than anyone else on either team.
CURRY DISCUSSES ADJUSTMENT:
The Warriors started slowly, perhaps because they hadn’t played since last Friday while the Rockets competed as recently as Sunday in Houston.
It wasn’t until the Warriors were down 49-33 after 17 minutes that they shook off the rust. Or maybe it was, as Stephen Curry opined, a matter of making the adjustment from the previous series against Memphis.
The Grizzlies are a rugged, slow-it-down unit relying on inside power. The Rockets prefer to play at a faster pace and launch 3-pointers.
“You play six games against a team that has a certain style, that first 24 minutes in this series is going to be a little bit different,” Curry said. “And it took us a while to kind of figure out the pace.”
After the Rockets shot 63.6 percent over the first 17 minute, the Warriors held them to 35.8 percent over the final 31 minutes.
Curry’s 34 points marked the sixth time in these playoffs that he reached the 30-point level. That’s a league-high for the postseason.
The Warriors are now 44-3 this season at Oracle Arena, including 5-1 in the playoffs.
The Warriors improved to 9-2 this postseason, winning their first five games, losing two and recovering to win the next four.
The Warriors are unbeaten (8-0) in these playoffs when making at least 10 3-pointers. They were 10-for-29 Tuesday night.