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Defiant Warriors top Spurs in opener

The Associated Press

The Golden State Warriors’ JaVale McGee, right, goes up for a shot against the San Antonio Spurs’ Danny Green during the first half of their NBA playoff game Saturday in Oakland, Calif.

The Associated PressOAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Golden State Warriors had something to prove, all right: Oh, yes, they plan to stay on top in these playoffs despite a disappointing finish to the regular season.

Kevin Durant helped the defending champions get defensive in a hurry, finishing with 24 points, eight rebounds and seven assists and the Warriors returned to their old dominant selves at playoff time to beat the cold-shooting San Antonio Spurs 113-92 on Saturday.

“Absolutely,” Klay Thompson said about playing a memorable, statement-making Game 1. “We did not end the season on a high note, we kind of hobbled into the playoffs. We know how talented we are. We know how good we are. We have been here before in the postseason and know what it takes to win.”

And they still know how to win in impressive fashion on the NBA’s big stage.

Durant, Thompson and Draymond Green took charge in Game 1 of the first-round series to elevate the Warriors’ intensity at last playing without fellow All-Star and injured two-time MVP Stephen Curry, sidelined since March 23 with a sprained left knee.

Thompson found his shooting touch and scored 27 points, making 11 of 13 shots, while big man JaVale McGee started in Steve Kerr’s center-by-committee approach and contributed 15 points, four rebounds and two blocked shots in 16 minutes. Green contributed 12 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds.

Rudy Gay led the Spurs with 15 points off the bench as leading scorer LaMarcus Aldridge was limited to 14 points on 5-for-12 shooting.

“The first quarter we looked like [a] deer in the headlights,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.

Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is Monday night at Oracle Arena.

The Warriors looked unbeatable again. And that was without the do-everything Curry.

Golden State said all week it’s a new season, then went out and showed it. The Warriors have plans for nothing short of a repeat title.

“We’re a championship ballclub. We know what it takes this time a year to win,” Green said. “... We’re primed for this. A lot of people tend to forget what we’re capable of. We know.”

Golden State came with the kind of swarming defense it is so used to playing but hadn’t exhibited much lately as rotations were mixed and matched because of injuries and illness.

San Antonio couldn’t keep up from the opening tip.

“We were just very overly excited, overzealous,” San Antonio’s Danny Green said. “Overreacting to a lot of things because we are so excited that we’re in the playoffs and playing, obviously, the best team in the world.”

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Raptors notch rare opening win

TORONTO (AP) — For the first time in almost 17 years, the Toronto Raptors are off to a winning start in a playoff series. Not that they’re overly excited about it.

Serge Ibaka had 23 points and 12 rebounds, Delon Wright scored 11 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, and the Raptors snapped a 10-game losing streak in playoff openers by beating the Washington Wizards 114-106 on Saturday.

“It’s out of the way now,” DeMar DeRozan said of the streak. “Worry about Game 2.”

DeRozan scored 17 points, C.J. Miles and OG Anunoby each had 12 for the Raptors, whose only previous victory in the opening game of a playoff series came in the second round at Philadelphia on May 6, 2001.

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