Stephen Curry has scored 21 points and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds as his Golden State Warriors held Luka Doncic in check to beat the Dallas Mavericks 112-87 and take a 1-0 lead in the NBA’s Western Conference finals.
Mavericks superstar Doncic scored 20 points but shot just six for 18 and three of 10 from deep in Wednesday night’s series opener in San Francisco.
He made back-to-back 3-pointers late in the first half to get his team within 54-45 at the break, but Curry and Klay Thompson helped the Warriors pull away in the second half.
Jalen Brunson scored 14 points but missed all five of his 3s for the surprising Mavs, who had stunned the top-seeded Phoenix Suns in a 123-90 thumping in Game 7 on Sunday in Phoenix.
Dallas dropped Game 1 in a third consecutive series.
Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is scheduled for Friday in San Francisco, where Golden State, seeking their sixth trip to the NBA Finals in the past eight years, have gone 7-0 this postseason.
Coach Jason Kidd’s Mavericks couldn’t keep up in a drastic contrast of styles featuring the slow-paced Dallas attack and up-tempo Warriors.
“We would like to play our pace but the Warriors have a unique pace, they’re going to get out and put a lot of pressure on your defence in transition,” Kidd said. “We have to be cautious of that. We don’t want a track meet.”
Andrew Wiggins added 19 points, getting Golden State going by making six of his first eight shots on the way to shooting eight for 17.
Doncic received a scratch across his face early from a first-quarter swipe by Wiggins. Doncic also tugged at his troublesome right shoulder that has been taped previously during these playoffs.
Stopping Doncic is the tall task this time after the Warriors already handled two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokic in the first round, then Ja Morant early last series before his knee injury.
Curry hit two quick 3s in sparking a 10-2 burst to begin the third for a Golden State squad that eliminated Memphis in a six-game semi-final series.
Thompson scored all of his 15 points after halftime, his first of the game on a layup at the 10:22 mark of the third after missing his first four shots.
Curry, last season’s scoring champion, missed his initial five 3-point tries before connecting with 50 seconds left in the first half when he was one for seven. But he got involved other ways by dishing out four assists and grabbing seven rebounds in the first half.
Kevon Looney remained in the starting lineup for Steve Kerr as the coach made his return to the bench after sitting out the final three games against Memphis with COVID-19.
Looney finished with 10 points, five rebounds and four assists after coming in to start in the Game 6 clincher against the Grizzlies.