The Golden State Warriors are one game away from making the NBA Finals once again. Despite a 13-point halftime deficit, and despite Kevin Durant missing yet another Western Conference Finals game due to a calf injury, the Warriors were able to pick up a convincing 110-99 win over the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 3 at the Moda Center.
Portland got out to an early lead, and every time Golden State managed to cut into it enough to make it a one-possession game, the Blazers kept them at bay. It was a resilient performance early on for the home side, which desperately needed to pick up a win to avoid a 3-0 hole against the two-time defending champs.
While Damian Lillard (10 points, four rebounds, four assists) and C.J. McCollum (12 points) did their usual heavy lifting, the 66-53 lead their squad had at the half was powered by 13 early points for Meyers Leonard, who was inserted into the starting lineup for Enes Kanter. The veteran big man brought some much-needed urgency to Portland, going 5-for-7 from the field and 2-for-4 from deep to start the game.
We even got our latest moment in the rivalry between the brothers Curry, as Seth Curry hit his only triple of the night off of a steal against his two-time MVP brother.
The Warriors were hardly dead in the water, though, because no lead ever feels safe against them. Draymond Green was magnificent in the first half — 14 points, five rebounds, five assists, a block, and a steal — while Steph Curry went for 15 points and Klay Thompson had 10. And of course, if you have watched any basketball over the last few years, it will not come as a surprise to learn that Golden State came out in the third quarter and wiped away Portland’s lead.
The Dubs were dominant on both ends of the floor in the third. They won the period, 29-13, thanks to some suffocating defense and 17 total points from the Splash Brothers. By the time the dust settled, Golden State took a three-point lead into the fourth.
The man who sparked all of this was Green, who put forth a performance that will go down among one of the best in his illustrious playoff career. His defense was suffocating, while he kept the machine moving on offense, even though he only shot the ball one time in the frame.
Green also provided some leadership after Jordan Bell missed a wide open dunk.
The fourth quarter was much of the same. The mix of the demoralizing nature of the Warriors storming back from a halftime deficit and exhaustion from the sheer amount of basketball they’ve played this postseason looked to have caught up with the Blazers, and whenever they needed to hit a shot to ignite the crowd, it just never went in. And of course, when Curry is doing stuff like this, nothing will ever matter.
The exclamation point may have been this chase down block by Thompson, who is a good defender, but not the sort of guy you’d expect to blow up a fast break like this.
Curry led all scorers with 36 points on 11-for-26 shooting and a 6-for-16 clip from deep, along with six rebounds and three assists. Thompson stuffed the stat sheet — 19 points, five rebounds, five assists, two steals, two blocks — but not to the extent Green did. The do-everything forward went for a triple-double, putting up 20 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists with four steals and a block. On the other side of things, McCollum’s 23 points led the Blazers, while Lillard struggled, going for 19 points on 5-for-18 shooting with six rebounds and six assists. Leonard had a quiet second half, finishing the game with 16 points.
Now, the Warriors are 48 minutes away from securing their fifth straight appearance in the NBA Finals. Portland will hope to prevent that coronation from occurring on their home floor during Game 4 on Monday, but if Golden State approaches that game with the intensity that it displayed during the first three, a sweep is very much on the table.