Golden State Warriors 110-99 Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers just can’t keep the Golden State Warriors down for a full 48 minutes. For the second consecutive game, the Warriors came back from a double-digit deficit in the second half to beat the Blazers.
The Blazers’ backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum once again didn’t have it going as Portland were unable to withstand the Warriors’ Draymond Green-inspired second-half onslaught.
With their Game 3 win, the Warriors are now just one win away from returning to the NBA Finals for the fifth straight year. The NBA 2019 odds will be overwhelmingly in their favour, as no team in NBA history has ever lost a 3-0 series lead.
Highlights of the game
With their season pretty much on the line in Game 3, the Blazers made a major change to their starting line-up. Meyers Leonard came in for ailing big man Enes Kanter to provide more spacing for the Blazers offensively.
The Warriors also pulled quite a surprise as they started Damian Jones at centre. But that experiment didn’t last long as Jones played just three minutes the entire game.
The Blazers had the slight two-point lead on the Warriors at the end of the first quarter. But just like in Game 2, they made a big run in the second. Leonard came up as he scored eight of his 13 first-half points to help Portland win the quarter, 37-26. And that was with Lillard and McCollum not being much of a factor.
However, it was the Warriors’ turn to repeat what they did in Game 2 as they stormed back in the third quarter, thanks in large part due to Draymond Green’s amazing all-around play.
Green was simply a monster on both ends of the floor. When he wasn’t making timely defensive stops or grabbing key rebounds, he was pushing the ball up to make plays or to score himself. By the end of the third quarter, he had already racked up a triple-double with 18 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists with a few steals as well.
With Green’s terrific defence leading the way, the Warriors limited the Blazers to just 13 third-quarter points as they entered the fourth with a three-point lead.
The Warriors were able to make their big run without Andre Iguodala, who sat out most of the second half due to a calf injury. But luckily for the Warriors, their other role players stepped up in a big way as the likes of Quinn Cook, Kevon Looney, Jordan Bell, and Alfonzo McKinnie all had timely baskets in the second half.
And while the Splash Brothers — Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson — were also coming up with timely plays, Lillard and McCollum were coming up short as they failed to lead a Blazers fightback in the fourth.
With the win, the Warriors have now won a road game in 22 straight playoff series, which is an NBA record.
Draymond Green was brilliant for the Warriors as he finished with 20 points, 13 rebounds, 12 assists, and four steals in 38 minutes. Green has now recorded three triple-doubles in this year’s playoffs.
Stephen Curry (11-26 FG) didn’t have the most efficient shooting night, but he still finished with 36 points, which he also had in his spectacular Game 1 performance. He’s now hit at least 36 points in the first three games of the series and at least 30 in five of his last six games in the postseason.
As for the Blazers, Damian Lillard’s disappointing series continues. Dame is averaging just 20 points on under 33 per cent shooting, which is a far cry from his magnificent first-round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
McCollum hasn’t been much better, though. The Blazers star is averaging just under 21 points on 37 per cent shooting from the field and 27 per cent on 3-pointers.
The Warriors have all but clinched this series. No team in NBA history has come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a best-of-7 series, and as much as us NBA fans would love to see a historic comeback, it’s unlikely that the Blazers have it in them to do it.
Even if Iguodala is set to join Kevin Durant on the sideline as a calf injury casualty, the Blazers have a huge injury concern of their own. The big NBA 2019 news broke after the game that Lillard is playing with separated ribs, which could significantly limit his effectiveness moving forward.
The Blazers should still like their chances of taking Game 4 at home against a likely short-handed Warriors team. But if the series goes back to Oakland for Game 5, it’s probably not returning to Portland again.
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