NBA ROUNDUP

Warriors’ bench more than just ‘The Others’

The Associated Press

WARRIORS 2, TRAIL BLAZERS 0

Game 1: Warriors 121, Blazers 109

Game 2: Warriors 110, Blazers 81

Saturday at Portland 7:30

Monday at Portland 7:30

x-Wednesday at Golden St. TBA

x-Fri, April 28 at Portland TBA

x-Sun, April 30 at Golden St. TBA

(x-if necessary; all times PDT)

OAKLAND, Calif. — Shaun Livingston heard a while back that Shaquille O’Neal had been referring to Golden State’s reserves as “The Others.” It caught on — and no insult taken by the Warriors.

“It makes sense, I know what he was trying to say,” Livingston said of Shaq. “It’s more about separating the superstars to the bench guys, the superstars to the others or starters to the bench, however you want to say it.”

They were a huge reason the NBA-best Warriors rebounded from a short rough patch to run off a 14-game winning streak after Kevin Durant went down with a knee injury.

And they were a big part of Golden State’s 111-81 win over Portland on Wednesday night. The Warriors’ bench combined for 50 points, led by JaVale McGee’s 15 points on 7-for-7 shooting.

“A lot of people do talk about the four of us, but one thing that’s constant in this organization is everybody — the strength in numbers,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said, “the depth that we rely on so heavily throughout the course of the year and through the playoffs.”

The Warriors needed everybody on their bench during Durant’s recent 19-game absence, and again Wednesday night in a commanding playoff win against the Trail Blazers as Durant sat out with a strained calf.

“We all should be so lucky to have ‘Others,’ right?” said New Orleans Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry, a former Warriors top assistant.

The Blazers’ bench had 35 points on a night when Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum were held to just 23 on combined 9-for-23 shooting, including 1 of 7 from 3-point range.

Lillard was perplexed by how McGee beat them in Game 2.

“They’re an outstanding team and obviously their core four guys get a lot of attention,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said, “but their guys who come in off the bench, like JaVale McGee had an impact on the game at both ends, and David West has played at a high level for a long time in his career, and obviously Iguodala. They all complement those four guys really well and Steve (Kerr, the Warriors’ coach) has a lot of trust in them.”

Kerr has mixed and matched the versatile reserves to keep his starters in the rotation at all times, and it has worked brilliantly.

“We’ve just got a good collective group IQ. Guys have seen a whole lot, experience is key for us, and we just try to play off that more than anything,” West said, “approach the game with a certain level of seriousness to try to be effective when we’re on the floor. K.D. going out forced some guys to take on some bigger roles and I think it’s going to help us later in the year.”

In Thursday’s games:

Grizzlies 105, Spurs 94: MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Mike Conley scored 24 points and handed out eight assists as Memphis snapped a 10-game postseason skid against San Antonio to pull to 2-1 in the series.

Cavaliers 119, Pacers 111: INDIANAPOLIS — LeBron James finished with 41 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists, and Cleveland set an NBA postseason record by erasing a 25-point halftime deficit to take a 3-0 series lead.

Bucks 104, Raptors 77: MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee held DeMar DeRozan to eight points and no field goals to take a 2-1 series lead.

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