Warriors break away in 2nd half for huge Game 1 win (2:25)

The Warriors got a balanced scoring attack in the opener. (2:25)

1:22 AM ET

Stephen Curry is now the old guy as the Golden State Warriors stage their first legitimate title quest in nearly three years.

Curry was reminded of how young some of the players were when the Warriors prepared for the Mavericks arrival in San Francisco. Luka is 23 years old. Ja was 22. You're thinking about what you were doing at that age, trying to come into this scene.

The NBA has been ruled by vets who school and torment the upstarts before giving up the glory. Few NBA stars in recent decades lift a championship trophy until their early prime -- and certainly not without a lot of help. Doncic wants to accelerate his track at the expense of Curry, America's favorite little brother who, in a flash, has graduated to elder statesman at age 34.

In the NBA, championships are still the best source of inspiration, as evidenced by the Warriors' 112-87 Game 1 win against the Dallas Mavericks at Chase Center on Wednesday night. Curry displayed the ease of his game, even though he was guarded by the toughest defensive guard in the game in Reggie Bullock, and even though he was inaccurate from the free throw line. In the first game of the Western Conference finals, he led all players in points, rebound, and assists, the first time in his career that he has done that in all three categories.

Curry said that they are comfortable on the stage. I am enjoying every moment of this. I know Klay and Draymond are because we haven't played meaningful games in two years. It is special.

The Miami Heat lead the Boston Celtics, 1-0, in the best-of-seven NBA Finals. You can watch the action on ABC.

The Celtics are at the Heat.

Game 3: Sat., Heat at Celtics (ABC)

Game 4: May 23, Heat at Celtics (ABC)

Game 5*: May 25, Celtics at Heat (ESPN)

Game 6*: May 27, Heat at Celtics (ESPN)

Game 7*: May 29, Celtics at Heat (ESPN)

*If necessary

All games at 8:30 p.m. ET

Curry and the Warriors were not the most artful exhibition of their style. There were few classic clips of their patented split cut for the vault. There were plenty of times when the Warriors demonstrated the telepathy that comes with continuity, such as when Green's help defense erased a high-percentage Dallas shot attempt or Curry dodged his way out of trouble thanks to a pindown from Kevon Looney. The Warriors spent most of the night in transition against a Mavericks team that likes to let Doncic pick apart possessions in the half court. The Warriors made life difficult for Doncic in his first conference finals appearance thanks to defensive work from Andrew Wiggins.

The series opener made a statement about how influential Golden State has been on the trends that define NBA basketball. The Warriors ran a 5-out scheme for much of the night to maximize spacing and beat a Dallas squad that attempted 19 more shots than they did from beyond the 3-point line. The Warriors relied on a center with limited range to bolster their interior defense and rebound, and they took twice as many long-range shots as they did at the rim.

The Golden State Warriors looked like a team that was effective during the 2010s.

Thompson said that teams run us off the 3-point line. It was really working for us tonight.

pragmatism in middle age is not uncommon for the most ardent idealists. During their ascent to greatness, the Warriors broke rules of conventional NBA basketball, rewrote a few others and laid down some new ones. After three years in the wilderness, the team has adopted a combination of Warriors wisdom and practical magic.

The Warriors are aware that Dallas might not replicate the hot shooting it displayed on the Phoenix Suns last week, but the Mavs are unlikely to miss more than three-quarters of their attempts from distance going forward.

Curry is both mentor and rival to a new class of NBA stars, and he seems very happy about it. Curry was enamored with Morant's leadership and work during the Warriors series win over the Memphis Grizzlies. Curry acknowledged that it will be difficult to defend against the young virtuoso in the future.

Self-confidence is also affirmed by age. It tells a guy who has won three rings, two awards and changed the way the NBA plays basketball that he can trust his instincts. Curry is reminded that the clock is running.

Curry said before Game 1 that he was not trying to claim the old guy tag.