Stephen Curry powers Warriors over Blazers in NBA Western Conference finals opener

Stephen Curry scored 36 points to propel the Golden State Warriors to a 116-94 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in game one of the NBA Western Conference finals. (USA TODAY Sports/Reuters)
Updated 15 May 2019

Stephen Curry powers Warriors over Blazers in NBA Western Conference finals opener

  • Stephen Curry: I just took advantage of what a free-flowing Warriors offense gave me
  • Two-time NBA Finals MVP Durant, who has a right calf strain, still out for game two

LOS ANGELES: Stephen Curry drained nine three-pointers on the way to 36 points Tuesday to propel the Golden State Warriors to a 116-94 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in game one of the NBA Western Conference finals.
Curry added seven assists and six rebounds as the Warriors led all the way over a Trail Blazers team coming off a game-seven victory over Denver in the second round on Sunday.
Klay Thompson added 26 points and provided an imposing defensive presence as the Warriors shrugged off the absence of injured superstar Kevin Durant.
Draymond Green added 12 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, two steals and three blocked shots for the two-time defending NBA champions, who are playing in their fifth straight Western Conference final.
Curry said he just took advantage of what a free-flowing Warriors offense gave him.
It was a nice flow,” Curry said. “It just puts so much pressure on the defense.
“You can’t key it on one guy and even if you try to somebody else is going to be open.”
The Trail Blazers connected on only 36.1 percent of their shots from the field, making just seven of 28 three-point attempts as the Warriors drained 17 from beyond the arc.
Portland star Damian Lillard hit just four of 12 shots to score 19 points with six assists, four rebounds and seven turnovers.
CJ McCollum, who starred as Lillard struggled in game seven against the Nuggets, scored 17 points on seven-of-19 shooting.
“The schedule favored us,” acknowledged Golden State coach Steve Kerr, whose Warriors polished off the Houston Rockets on Friday.
“I thought we took advantage of the situation and got off to a good start.”
The Warriors pushed their lead to 10 in the second quarter before Portland put together a run that trimmed the deficit to 48-45.
Curry answered with a pair of late three-pointers — abetted by a Lillard turnover — to send the Warriors to the locker-room leading 54-45.
The Trail Blazers made another push in the third period, cutting a 17-point deficit to six.
Rodney Hood and Seth Curry both had three-pointers in the Blazers’ 11-4 scoring run to end the quarter, but those were the only points of the night for the younger Curry brother — a Portland reserve — as the game marked the first time siblings have met in an NBA conference final.
The Warriors reserves opened strong in the fourth quarter to rebuild the cushion in a stretch that Kerr called key.
“Great job by our bench,” Kerr said. “If we can buy some time for our starters to rest and even extend the lead, that’s a huge deal for us.”
Despite their shooting woes, the Trail Blazers managed to stay in touch much of the night thanks to making 27 of 31 free throws and out-rebounding the Warriors 47-42.
But their 21 turnovers led to 31 Warriors points — a gift no team can afford to give Golden State.
“You can’t allow that,” said Lillard, who admitted it was hard to come back from the emotional high of beating the Nuggets in Denver.
“I thought our minds were right. We came into the game ready,” he said. “But they’re a team that can go on runs, they make shots and the game can get away.”
In particular, Lillard said, the Blazers need to make things more difficult for Curry, who had open look after open look.
“That was poor execution defensively on our part,” Lillard said. “Having our bigs back that far, we’ve got to bring our guys up and run them off the line.”
The Warriors will try to double their advantage in the best-of-seven series when they host game two on Thursday. They are again expected to be without two-time NBA Finals MVP Durant, who has a right calf strain.


Neymar future remains up in the air as PSG reject Madrid offer

Updated 23 August 2019

Neymar future remains up in the air as PSG reject Madrid offer

  • Paris club said to turn down an offer from Barcelona of €40 million plus Coutinho and Rakitic

PARIS: Neymar remains no closer to getting his desired move away from Paris Saint-Germain amid reports Thursday the French club have rejected an offer from Real Madrid of €100 million($111 million) plus players.

French sports daily L’Equipe said Real had offered cash plus Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and goalkeeper Keylor Navas, but PSG turned it down because “the overall value of the offer did not match their expectations.” 

Paris paid €222 million to sign Neymar from Barcelona two years ago and their sporting director Leonardo is understood to be determined to only sell the forward for a deal considered to be of the same value.

Real have spent the summer trying to offload Bale, while James is unwanted after returning from a loan at Bayern Munich and Navas is no longer the club’s first-choice goalkeeper.

Meanwhile, Barcelona remain hopeful of bringing Neymar back to the Camp Nou, but Catalan daily Sport claims an attempt to sign the player on loan with an obligation to buy for €160 million at the end of the season has been firmly rejected in Paris.

Sport claims Barcelona feel “it is very clear that PSG are trying to prevent the Brazilian from returning to the Camp Nou in any scenario.” 

PSG had previously reportedly turned down an offer from Barcelona of €40 million  plus Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic. Coutinho has since joined Bayern on loan.

Juventus are also believed to have stated an interest in signing the 27-year-old, who has not featured in any of PSG’s matches so far this season having been frozen out amid the uncertainty over his future. The transfer window closes in France, Spain and Italy on Sept. 2, meaning time is fast running out for a deal to be done.

Watford loan Sweden winger Sema to Udinese

Watford winger Ken Sema has completed a season-long loan move to Udinese, the Serie A side confirmed on Thursday.

The six-times capped Sweden international only moved to Vicarage Road last summer from Ostersunds FK and made 22 appearances for the English club.

The 25-year-old's departure follows the arrival of Senegal international Ismaila Sarr to the Premier League outfit on a club record transfer of €35 million   ($38 million) from Rennes. The northeastern Italian club and Watford are both owned by the Pozzo family.

Udinese host AC Milan in their opening match of the Serie A season on Saturday.