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Curry, Warriors roll in West opener

The Associated Press

The Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry (30) goes up for a shot against the Portland Trail Blazers during the first half of Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference finals on Tuesday in Oakland, Calif.

The Associated PressOAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Stephen Curry had all kinds of room for a change and capitalized, finding his shooting touch in a hurry to get Golden State on a roll. Portland’s defenders were too far back in the paint or a step behind all night.

“Practice shots,” Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard said of Curry’s wide-open chances.

So far, the Warriors are showing they can keep winning until Kevin Durant gets healthy.

Making it look easy again, Curry knocked down nine 3-pointers on his way to 36 points, leading the two-time defending champions past the Trail Blazers 116-94 on Tuesday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.

“I know what I’m capable of on the floor. The situation calls for me to be a little bit more aggressive and hopefully that’ll continue,” said Curry, who came in shooting 37.1 percent on 3s this postseason.

“Obviously it’s nice to see the ball go in. I didn’t shoot the ball well for 4½ games the last series and got off to a good start tonight. I want to maintain that. Every game is different, you’ve got to reestablish yourself. That’s my perspective no matter how I play.”

Curry shot 12 for 23 in his fourth 30-point performance this postseason, finding far more open looks than he had in the last round against Houston. The two-time NBA MVP outplayed the Portland duo of Lillard and CJ McCollum, who combined to go 11 for 31 against a strong Golden State defense.

“It’s good to see Steph have a game like that at a time that obviously we need him most,” Draymond Green said.

Klay Thompson had 26 points, including a late one-handed slam. Green established the energy on both ends early for the well-rested Warriors, finishing with 12 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, three blocks and two steals.

Lillard scored 19 points back home in Oakland, just miles away from where he grew up. He appreciated all the support but wants to stick to basketball.

“That’s part of what makes it special, I’m from here,” Lillard said. “I could walk home from here if I wanted to, that tells you how close it is.”

McCollum had 17 and missed five of his six 3s as the cold-shooting Blazers went just 7 for 28 from long range.

Game 2 is Thursday night, and the Warriors are unlikely to have Durant back from a strained right calf. An update on Durant’s status is expected that day once the two-time reigning NBA Finals MVP is reexamined.

“I think we played a terrible game and we still had a chance going into the fourth quarter,” McCollum said, “so we need to tighten some things up and look forward to the game on Thursday.”

Curry came off screens with authority and matched his postseason career high for 3s, also accomplished in Game 1 of last year’s finals against Cleveland. He found his groove far earlier than in the Game 6 clincher at Houston on Friday night, when he scored all 33 of his points in the second half.

Little brother Seth struggled with three points for Portland, which shot 36.1 percent overall.

Kanter gets powerful support

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden wants to ensure Portland Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter, a Turkish star whom Turkey wants arrested for his criticism of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will be able to safely travel to Canada for a possible NBA championship series against the Toronto Raptors.

The Oregon senator wrote Tuesday to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking that his government facilitate Kanter’s safe passage to and from Canada if the Blazers advance to the title series.

“I also urge your government to state publicly that it will not comply with any Interpol red notice meant to interfere with Mr. Kanter’s livelihood and to intimidate him and his family back in Turkey,” Wyden wrote.

Wyden is a fan of his hometown team, often attending games, and he appeared in photos alongside the player who helped push the Blazers past the Denver Nuggets to advance to the Western Conference Finals.

The Blazers opened the conference finals against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night. The Raptors face the Milwaukee Bucks in the other semifinal series. The NBA Finals begin May 30.

Turkish officials have sought a “red notice” — an international wanted notice — for Kanter through Interpol. Kanter’s Turkish passport was canceled in 2017. Kanter is a longtime critic of Erdogan.

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