And although he’s not leading the Browns

The Golden State Warriors had something to prove all right: Oh yes [url=]Darius Leonard Youth Jersey[/url] , 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 7-footer 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 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 [url=]Josh Jackson Youth Jersey[/url] , 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.”

Beat up and missing its four All-Stars at times, Golden State endured a stretch losing seven of 10 last month.

Golden State swept San Antonio in the Western Conference Finals a year ago on the way to a second championship in three seasons and an astonishing, record-setting 16-1 postseason run.

Kerr always said his team would be ready when these playoffs came around.

The Warriors were determined to pick up their defense, and they did just that.

Green, Durant and the others quickly closed on shooters and got hands up to alter shots.

2015 Finals MVP Andre Iguodala moved into the starting lineup for the 2018 edition of that ”Strength In Numbers” mantra – and all those bright yellow T-shirts through the arena are there to back it.

Iguodala, who started just seven games all season before Saturday, had missed four of the final five regular-season games with a sore left knee.

Kerr went with his best defensive unit.

”I thought it was important to re-establish our defense, one way or another, win or lose,” Kerr said. ”That’s the reason this is a championship team. It’s the defense that has been the key for this team for years.”


Spurs: The Spurs, still without injured star Kawhi Leonard, never led and shot 40 percent. … San Antonio visited Golden State for the third time in as many months. They lost at Oracle on Feb. 10 and March 8.

Warriors: The Warriors had 32 assists on 44 field goals [url=]Leighton Vander Esch Jersey[/url] , 23 of those assists on 33 made baskets through the third. … Golden State is 6-2 vs. the Spurs in the postseason at home. … The Warriors have won six straight playoff openers.


Curry, who Kerr ruled out for the entire first round, was re-examined Friday and continues to make solid progress. He will ramp up the intensity of his on-court rehab work this week with running and lateral movement as he did in recent days and is scheduled to be re-evaluated again in one week.

He worked through one-legged jumps onto his injured knee during pregame warmups and got in some shooting.

”When he’s ready, he’s ready but he’s making progress, which is a good sign,” Kerr said.


Kerr’s son, Nick, is on the Spurs staff and the team jokingly voted him out of the film room Friday for fear of him sharing Spurs secrets with the enemy.

”I let the team vote on whether they wanted him to stay in the room or not,” Popovich said. ”Truly, we did, we took a vote. It was a mock vote but they all voted that he had to leave the room. I overruled them and so I let him stay, because he’s wonderful and of course we trust him. But he did have dinner with his family last night, so we’ll see.”

Myles Garrett’s rookie season with the Browns was historic – and horrific.

The 0-16 nightmare left him scarred, but determined.

”It drives me a little bit, because I’ll never let something like that happen again [url=]Donte Jackson Youth Jersey[/url] ,” the defensive end vowed Thursday as the Browns opened training camp with an infusion of talent and optimism following their forgettable 2017 season. ”No matter how long I’m here, there will never be a season like that.”

Cleveland fans could never handle another one.

But in the months since last season ended, coach Hue Jackson jumped into Lake Erie to cleanse himself of the losing and new general manager John Dorsey retooled the Browns’ roster.

He acquired proven players such as quarterback Tyrod Taylor and Pro Bowl wide receiver Jarvis Landry in trades, signed free agent linebacker Mychal Kendricks and drafted rookie QB Baker Mayfield, the top overall pick who may eventually lead Cleveland’s bruised franchise back to prominence.

With HBO’s ”Hard Knocks” chronicling their every move over the next few weeks, the Browns are pushing the reset button.

”It is not the same team,” said Jackson, who held onto his job despite a 1-31 record the past two seasons. ”John and his team did a tremendous job of adding key pieces to our football team. This is a competitive football team throughout.”

Unlike so many previous seasons, the quarterback job appears to be locked up. On Wednesday, Jackson made it clear that Taylor, who led Buffalo to the playoffs last season, is the starter and that Mayfield is ”not ready to walk out there right now and play.”

”Tyrod Taylor is the starter,” Jackson said, getting an agreeing nod from Dorsey. ”I don’t envision any situation where all of a sudden he is getting a bunch of first-team reps – unless, God forbid [url=]Cheap Brian O'Neill Jersey[/url] , something happens.”

Something always seems to happen to the Browns, so Jackson wrapped his knuckles on the wooden podium while discussing Taylor to ward off any bad luck.

The 27-year-old Taylor quickly won over teammates and coaches this spring with his team-first attitude and work ethic. Beyond his usual duties, part of Taylor’s role is to help the Browns forget 2017 – not just turn the page, but throw out the book.

”Let them know that it is a new year,” he said. ”Even if you were a part of it last year, it is a fresh start now. Learn from last year. No matter how good or how bad the season was, this season is a totally new year and be excited about the opportunity we have in front of us to go out and win games, change the culture and change the perception of this team.”

Mayfield’s first NFL camp will test his football knowledge and patience. The Browns are in it for the long haul with the Heisman Trophy winner, who to this point has accepted the team’s decision to have him sit behind Taylor.

However, that doesn’t mean Mayfield is satisfied being a No. 2 quarterback.

”I would never get my mind right to be a backup,” he said before the Browns held their first practice open to the public. ”That’s the second that I would be complacent. That’s the second that I would stop working. You’ve always got to keep working like you’re going to work to be the best and that’s the same thing Tyrod has done his whole life.

”It doesn’t matter the position you’re in. If you’re not going to work hard, then you’re not doing it right.”

While the Browns want Mayfield to wait, fans may be a little more impatient to see him.

It wasn’t long into practice that chants of ”Ba-ker, May-field” filled the warm air on the green, manicured fields behind the team’s headquarters.

Mayfield’s accustomed to the spotlight – the star attraction. But for now he’s content with a supporting role [url=]Brian O'Neill Youth Jersey[/url] , and doesn’t object to Jackson’s plan to give Taylor the majority of snaps with Cleveland’s starters.

”No, absolutely not,” Mayfield said. ”They’re doing everything they think is right and I believe in that and I believe in them, so when it comes down to the stuff that they’re saying, that’s not going to change my work ethic and if it does, then something’s wrong.”

Unlike Garrett, Mayfield’s 2017 couldn’t have gone much better.

Once a walk-on, he climbed to college football’s summit, carrying the Sooners to national title contention.

And although he’s not leading the Browns, Mayfield can help point them in the right direction.

”When you talk about a new season, the record from the past year goes out the window,” he said. ”It doesn’t matter if you win the Super Bowl or you go 0-16, you start fresh and you haven’t done anything for this season. So we’re working to be the best team in the country and that’s our mindset.”