By Ben Leonard
Golden State had gone through rough patches when Kevin Durant went down with an MCL sprain, dropping five of their first seven games without him. With their small forward out with a left calf strain Wednesday, the Warriors were faced with that possibility once again.
But the Warriors certainly did not let their star’s absence affect their play Wednesday, blowing past the Trailblazers 110-81 to take a 2-0 series lead in the Western Conference quarterfinals. Despite a merely average offensive output, the Warriors leaned on lockdown defense to shut down Portland’s high-flying offense, holding them to shoot just 21.2 percent from beyond the arc.
Among the Trailblazers who struggled was star point guard Damian Lilliard, who converted on just 5-of-17 field goal attempts and scored 12 points.
After limiting the Trailblazers to 17 points in the first quarter, Golden State yielded just 12 points in the third quarter to pull away for good. The Warriors had been off to a hot start offensively, going on a 12-of-18 shooting run midway through the first quarter to distance themselves from Portland.
But the Trailblazers went on a strong run to cut the Warriors’ lead to just one point midway through the second. From there, the Warriors kicked it into gear, finishing the game on a 67-39 run to vault past Portland.
Despite an off shooting night, converting on just 6-of-18 field goal attempts, Stephen Curry shouldered the brunt of the load on offense, scoring 19 points and making four 3-pointers.
JaVale McGee came off the bench to shoot a perfect 7-of-7 from the field, chipping in with 15 points while Klay Thompson also added 16.
Image: Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry (30) dribbles past Portland Trail Blazers’ Evan Turner during the first half in Game 2 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Wednesday, April 19, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)