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WASHINGTON (AFP) – The Golden State Warriors clamped down on defense as they cruised to a 110-81 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers, taking a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.
Playing without injured star Kevin Durant, Golden State held Portland to just 12 points in the third quarter Wednesday to post their 11th straight home win over the Trail Blazers in a rematch of last year’s Western Conference semi-final series.
Durant missed the game with a calf strain.
“You got to be aggressive. Tonight we didn’t really get it going and we had some dry spots but we won the game with our defense,’’ said Warriors star Stephen Curry. “We asserted ourselves in first quarter that set the tone for the game.’’
Curry had 19 points and Klay Thompson added 16 as the Warriors won easily despite scoring 11 fewer points than in their 121-109 win in the opening game of the series.
The teams will travel to Portland for the next two meetings in the best-of-seven series, with the Warriors taking their lead into game three on Saturday.
Elsewhere, Eric Gordon and Lou Williams caught fire in the fourth quarter as the Houston Rockets rallied for a 115-111 playoff win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, who lost despite another historic 50-point night by Russell Westbrook.
The Rockets erased a 15-point deficit to take a 2-0 lead after game two of their Western Conference series.
Westbrook delivered a triple-double of 51 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds but couldn’t get the ball to drop when it counted. He shot a dismal four of 18 in the fourth quarter.
His scoring total was the highest for a postseason triple-double in NBA history.
Despite the historic night, Westbrook failed to find his teammates with passes as he appeared to run out of steam in the final quarter.
He missed 14 shots in the fourth, the most misses in any quarter in the last 20 NBA playoffs.
“I wasn’t tired,’’ Westbrook said. “I don’t care about the (personal stats). We lost.’’
And in Washington, in a rough-and-tumble, foul-filled game, Bradley Beal took over in the fourth quarter with 16 of his 31 points, including a key late 3-pointer, helping the Wizards beat Atlanta, 109-101, for a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series.
John Wall earned chants of “M-V-P!’’ while finishing with 32 points and nine assists, including the dish to Beal for his shot from beyond the arc with 38 seconds remaining that sealed the win for the hosts.