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April 16, 2018

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Warriors rout Spurs as Raptors, Sixers, Pelicans win

THE Golden State Warriors fired a warning to their rivals as the National Basketball Association playoffs got under way, routing the San Antonio Spurs 113-92 on Saturday to serve notice they will not be dethroned easily despite Stephen Curry’s knee injury.

Klay Thompson scored a game-high 27 points on 11-of-13 shooting, including 5-of-6 from 3-point range, and Kevin Durant added 24 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists to power Golden State.

“We played well. We played hard. We need to do even better next time,” Durant said before praising Thompson’s long-range heroics. “Klay knocked down shots. He was really good. He was penetrating as well. We won’t always make shots at that rate but we need to play good defense like that as well.”

In Saturday’s other games, Eastern Conference top seed Toronto outlasted Washington 114-106 while the Philadelphia 76ers trounced the Miami Heat 130-103.

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

Earlier, the Warriors updated star guard Curry’s left knee sprain before playing, saying he was making progress and will be re-evaluated next Saturday.

Curry, who missed Golden State’s last 10 regular-season contests after the March 23 setback, will intensify his rehabilitation work in the next few days, the team said in a statement.

Curry averaged 26.4 points, 6.1 assists and 5.1 rebounds for the Warriors, who have played without several top players during the season due to injuries.

Despite the setbacks, Golden State won 58 games and is a solid contender for a third title in four seasons and fourth consecutive trip to the NBA Finals.

The Warriors struggled down the stretch of the regular season and finished with only the third-best record in the NBA behind Western Conference leader Houston and Eastern Conference pace-setter Toronto.

JaVale McGee scored 15 points and played aggressive defense while Draymond Green had 12 points, 11 assists and 8 rebounds for the hosts Warriors.

Reserve Rudy Gay led the Spurs with 15 points while LaMarcus Aldridge and Bryn Forbes each added 14.

In Philadelphia, the 76ers overcame a spirited first half display from the visiting Heat before stamping their class on their series opener.

Australian-born rookie Ben Simmons finished with 17 points, 14 assists and 9 rebounds while JJ Redick led the scoring with 28 points.

In Toronto, the Raptors snapped a streak of losses in all 9 prior playoff openers in club history. Serge Ibaka led the Raptors with 23 points and 12 rebounds while Delon Wright added points 18 and DeMar DeRozan netted 17.

In the late game, Anthony Davis scored 35 points to lead the New Orleans Pelicans to a series-opening win over the Trail Blazers in Portland.


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