The Kings make it rain in Portland to get a big 123-111 win on Saturday night

Photo: Richaun Holmes returned to the Kings lineup on Saturday night @NBCS

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Where were you on December 8, 2012? The Sacramento Kings were in Portland and that was the last time they won a basketball game in “Rip City” until Saturday night. After suffering 12 consecutive losses over seven-plus years in Portland, the Sacramento Kings broke the curse and beat the Trail Blazers on their homecourt 123-111.

Playoff implications

The Trail Blazers (28-37) and Kings (28-35) are both fighting to jump into the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. That slot is currently held by the Memphis Grizzlies who have not been able to distance themselves from the Kings, Trail Blazers, Pelicans, Spurs and even the Suns who have a real chance to qualify for the playoffs.

This was the final meeting of the season between the Kings and the Blazers. The teams split the series 2-2.

The Kings started fast

The Kings started the game like a “Top Fuel” dragster. Harrison Barnes led the way scoring 11 points in the first quarter that saw Sacramento outscore Portland 40-24.

The Kings shot 55.2-percent (16-for-29) overall in the period and went 5-for-9 (55.6%) from behind the 3-point line. They dished out 11 assists in the first 12 minutes while making five steals. SAC was simply overwhelming.

The train kept rolling in the second quarter

The Kings did not cool off in the second period. Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic decided it was time “to make it rain” 3-pointers. The two shooting guards combined to hit 7-of-8 shots from downtown. As a team, Sacramento shot 9-for-12 (75%) from behind the arc.

The Kings outscored the Blazers 37-30 in the quarter.

Hield put up 14 points while Bogdanovic added 11.

At halftime, Sacramento held a 77-54 lead over Portland.

The Trail Blazers did just roll over and quit

When you have CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard on your team, you are never out of contention as long as there is time on the clock. Portland did not get hot, but they did play better than the Kings in the third quarter.

Sacramento cooled off in the third stanza as might have been expected. They shot 6-for-21 (28.6%) from the field; however, five of those baskets came from 3-point land.

Portland won the quarter 26-23, but the Kings still held a 100-80 lead after 36 minutes of play.

Wave the white flag

The Kings opened the final quarter by going on an 8-2 run that broke the Trail Blazers back. Portland tried to get back into the game, but it was too late.

Terry Stotts emptied his bench and the reserves played with vigor, but it was a futile effort.

The Kings won the game 123-111.

Top Performers

Leading scorers

  • Bogdan Bogdanovic was the game’s leading scorer with 27 points
  • Hassan Whiteside and CJ McCollum led the Blazers with 19 points each

Glass cleaners

  • Whiteside was the top rebounder with 11 grabs to give him a double-double
  • Richaun Holmes – who supplied some much-needed energy to the Kings – hauled in eight rebounds

Dropping dimes

  • De’Aaron Fox made it a double-double game by dishing out 11 assists in the contest
  • Lillard and McCollum led Portland with six assists each

Up next

The Kings jumped on their plane and flew back to Sacramento where they will host the defending NBA Toronto Raptors on Sunday night.

Portland will be off until Tuesday when they will host the Phoenix Suns.

 

 

 

Kings win again, downing Portland 107-99 on Tuesday night

SAC 11-12

By Charlie O. Mallonee

SACRAMENTOOn Tuesday night, the Kings played their first game since learning that star point guard De’Aaron Fox was going to be unavailable to the team for an extended period of time. Fox suffered a Grade 3 ankle sprain, which usually implies ligament damage, at the end of practice on Monday. Fox is currently on crutches and will be re-evaluated in four weeks. How long Fox will be gone has yet to be determined.

NBA observers immediately predicted “doom and gloom”

The national experts who cover the NBA almost immediately declared that the injury to Fox ended any chance the Kings had of making a playoff run this season. The team had stumbled out of the starting gate losing their first five games but seemed to be putting things together after going 2-1 on their first road trip to the East Coast.

“Those in the know” felt that the team would not be able to overcome the loss of Fox who is their uptempo playmaker. Fox is also a key scorer for the team when they need a boost on the scoreboard.

Tuesday night the Kings had to face the Portland Trail Blazers in their first test without Fox on the floor. Sacramento had lost to the Blazers 122-112 at home in the second of the season.

Portland tried to take control in the first half

The Trail Blazers came out in the first quarter shooting 50% from the floor and 33% from 3-point range. The Kings really struggled as they shot just 34.6% from the field and a miserable 16.7% from downtown. What kept Sacramento in the game was their volume of shots.

Portland hit 9 of 18 shots in the opening period while the Kings put in 9 of 26 attempts from the field. The Blazers held just a 24-21 lead when the first quarter came to a close.

The Kings’ shooting and defense improved in the second quarter, and they matched the Blazers in almost every statistical category. Portland was up by only three points, 49-46, at the half.

Trail Blazers Head Coach Terry Stotts said after the game: “Sacramento didn’t shoot the ball particularly well – neither team shot the ball well in the first half. I felt like we should have had a bigger lead at halftime.”

Could the Kings overcome their Third Quarter nemesis?

The Kings have experienced difficulty in the third quarter in the majority of their games so far this season. They have had a tendency to start the period slowly and then watch their opponents put them in a position where they have to play catch up in the fourth quarter.

That did not happen on Tuesday night. Sacramento outscored Portland 35-21 in the third period. They accomplished that by shooting an outstanding 57.9% (11-for-19) overall and sinking 2 of 5 (40%) from long range. They also converted 11 of 13 opportunities from free throw line.

At the end of 36 minutes of play, Sacramento led Portland 81-70.

Portland Head Coach Terry Stotts: “They got off to a good start in the third quarter and built a lead and we really couldn’t recover from that initial burst at the start of the third quarter.”

Portland did not give up in the fourth

The Blazers outscored the Kings 29-26 in the final 12 minutes and cut the Sacramento lead down to five points with 2:51 to go in the game. Bjelica hit a 26-foot, 3-point shot to give his team an eight-point lead. The Kings would go on to win the game 107-99.

The Kings record improves to 4-6 and they have now won 4 of their last 5 games. Portland’s record drops to 4-7 on the young season.

After the game, Luke Walton wanted to talk “D”

“I want to talk about our defense. It’s been what we’ve been preaching about every day since day one of training camp and I’m the first to admit, it needs to get a lot better. But that’s why – not only tonight but I feel like slowly even if our numbers haven’t showed it, guys are starting to understand and really make steps as far as individual defense and team defense. Tonight, we started the game, we couldn’t make anything – great shooters, wide-open shots – and that’s why defense is important.”

Focus on the Kings

  • Bogdan Bogdanovic was the Kings top scorer. He came off the bench to score 25 points and dish out 10 assists. “Bogi” scored 25 of the Kings 36 bench points.
  • Buddy Hield added 20 points in 37 minutes of playing time. Hield did not have a great night shooting just 7-for-21, but he hit big shots when they were needed.
  • Nemanja Bjelica recorded a double-double scoring 19 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.

Blazers top performers

  • To no one’s surprise, Damian Lillard scored a game-high 27 points. “Dame” went 13-for-14 from the free throw line. He also played almost 38 minutes. He is truly an incredible player.
  • CJ McCollum added 24 points shooting a very nice 11-for-21 from the floor.
  • Hassan Whiteside had another nice game against the Kings as he put up 17 points and hauled in seven rebounds.

Up next

The Kings will be off until Friday night when they will face the Lakers at Staples Center in LA.

The Blazers head home for the back end of a back-to-back with the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night.

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast with Barbara Mason: Will Irving reunite with LeBron in L.A.?; Leonard’s 4-bouncer rim shot gets Raptors in the semi Finals; plus more

Photo credit: @AFordTaurus

Barbara Mason is filling in for Amaury on That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast:

#1 What about all the talk from ESPN radio that they can see a LeBron James and Kyrie Irving reunion at the Los Angeles Lakers especially if Jason Kidd had come on board as head coach but Frank Vogel got the job as Lakers head coach? Stephen A Smith says that not going to happen that his sources tell him that Irving is going to the Knicks and Brooklyn is trying to weigh in on Irving, but Irving is focused on going to the Knicks and Madison Square Garden.

#2 The Toronto Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard sunk a four-bouncer on the rim and got the Raptors into the next round defeating the Philadelphia 76ers 92-90 on a buzzer beater. Leonard had himself a game finishing with 41 points in a Game 7 elimination contest to advance to face the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals.

#3 The Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lilliard will be all the rage as the Blazers are coming off a narrow 4-3 win past the Denver Nuggets. It took seven games for the Blazers to advance. Do the Blazers have enough to go deep with Golden State? In game one the Warriors rolled past Portland 116-94.

#4 In hockey, the San Jose Sharks and St Louis Blues played Game 2 Monday night in the best of seven in this third round of the NHL Stanley Cup Western Conference Final. The Sharks have been getting help from all around, but the Sharks’ Timo Meier has been on fire with two goals scored in Game 1. The Sharks had home ice in game for the first two games.

#5 The Oakland A’s opened up a two-game series in Seattle on Monday night the A’s got five homers but couldn’t win it in the end. The A’s and M’s are battling for that third place spot in the American League West and are two games out of second place but eight games behind Houston. The A’s and M’s have almost identical records in a short series that could prove to test the A’s on the road and the M’s against an A’s team who’s capable to break out the bats and get good pitching.

Barbara does That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary every Tuesday night and is a freelance writer for Area Grande Spanish papers at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Golden State Warriors podcast with David Zizmor: Curry to take on Lilliard and brother Seth in Semifinals; Can Warriors get by Blazers without Durant?

Photo credit: @NBCSWarriors

On the Warriors podcast with David:

#1 What does it mean for Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors to be battling the Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lilliard and his brother Seth in the Western Conference Finals?

#2 The Warriors are without Kevin Durant, whose situation is game to game during this series. What is the extent of his pain and injury to his calf?

David does the Warriors podcasts each Tuesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Headline Sports podcast with Tony Renteria: Gould insists on leaving 49ers, won’t report to practice; Kluber fractures forearm from line drive; plus more

Photo credit: @theScore

On the Headline Sports podcast with Tony Renteria:

#1 Former Chicago Bears kicker Kevin Butler has warned San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould to be careful what you wish for in Gould not reporting to practice for the 49ers. He has asked for the team to release him so he could kick for the Chicago Bears and be closer to his home in Chicago. The 49ers refuse and have told Gould they are holding him to his contract. Butler said that going back to Chicago a second time doesn’t guarantee success.

#2 Cleveland Indians pitcher Cory Kluber took a line drive off his forearm on Wednesday night and broke his forearm. The Miami Marlins’ Brian Anderson hit a line drive that Kluber tried to block and ended up using his glove hand to scoop throw the ball to first, but it too late. Kluber has an ERA of 5.81.

#3 Omaha Beach has been scratched from the Kentucky Derby because of breathing problems. Omaha Beach developed a cough and breathing problems and a medical team said that Omaha Beach will need corrective surgery and the surgery is not life-threatening or career-ending. The new favorite for the Kentucky Derby is now Roadster (6-1) with Improbable (6-1) just behind.

#4 The Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard didn’t set the world on fire against the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night, but his teammates came through to help for the 97-90 win. The Blazers’ C.J. McCollum led with 20 points and Lilliard finished with 15 points. With the win, the Blazers tie the series 1-1.

#5 It was reported by Yahoo Sports that Palm Beach Florida police issued a fake bomb threat in order to install cameras at the spa which New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft would be recorded receiving sexual favors at Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida. Kraft’s lawyers said that the video was obtained by illegally installing the cameras. A masseuse has been arrested in connection with the case.

Tony does the Headline Sports podcast each Thursday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Lillard puts up 50 points to lead Trail Blazers past the Kings 118-100

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by Charlie O. Mallonee

Sacramento – NBA teams can be divided into tiers. Different reporters and analysts will use different systems and different numbers of tiers to breakdown the league. This reporter is a simple kind of guy, so I go with a 3-tier system:

  1. Tier One is for those teams that have a realistic chance to fight their way into the NBA Finals. In the Eastern Conference, that would include Toronto, Boston, Cleveland (if the new roster comes together) and Washington if everyone stays healthy. Western Conference tier one teams are the Warriors, Rockets and Spurs in my opinion.
  2. Tier Two is reserved for organizations that make the playoffs and some will make to the second-round, but they are still at least one star player away from jumping into tier one. In the East, that would be teams like the Bucks, Pacers, Heat, Sixers and maybe the Pistons. Western Conference teams that can claim tier two status are Minnesota, Portland, OKC, Clippers and Denver.
  3. Tier Three means welcome to Draft Lottery in June. Eastern Conference teams that occupy that status are Charlotte, New York, Chicago, Brooklyn, Orlando and Atlanta. Out West, tier three members are the Kings, Pelicans, Jazz, Lakers, Grizzlies, Suns and Mavericks.

On Friday night, the tier two Portland Trail Blazers – currently tied for fifth-place in the West – came to Sacramento to face the tier three Kings who are currently in the 14th slot in the conference. Sacramento is contending for the worst record in “the Association” and chance to have the number one selection in the 2018 NBA Draft.

The final outcome of the game was predictable given the talent and experience difference that exist between the two teams. Then, add a “lights out” 50 point game by Damian Lillard and the young Kings were doomed.

The contest was an entertaining “see-saw” battle until just under two minutes remained in the first half. The Blazers went on a scoring burst that allowed them to open up a 10 point – 62 to 52 – halftime lead and they would never trail in the game again. Lillard scored six points in those final two minutes.

Sacramento fought hard in the third quarter and eventually cut the Portland lead to just one point – 75 to 74 – with 4:25 remaining in the period. The Trail Blazers regained their motivation and went on a 17-0 run to end the quarter and for all practical purposes the was over. Lillard scored 15 of those 17 points in the run to finish the quarter with 22 points scored in the third.

Lillard did not play in the fourth quarter. The Kings did cut the Portland lead to 13 points midway through the period but the game never really became competitive again. The final was Portland 118 – Sacramento 100.

Coach Dave Joerger’s take on the game

Reporter’s note: True fans of the game – listen closely to his opening statement

Award winning performanceLillard 50A

Portland’s Damian Lillard gets his own top billing for his performance in this game. The veteran guard put up 50 points in just 29-plus minutes of playing time and he accomplished it in just three-quarters of the game. He became the third NBA player to score 50 or more in just three quarters this season. The other two players – James Harden and Lillard’s teammate CJ McCollum.

Lillard shot 16-for-23 from field and hit 8-of-13 from behind the 3-point line. He also converted 10 of 10 free throw opportunities. If scoring 50 points was not enough, Lillard also dished out six assists and made three steals in the game.

Top Performers

Kings

  • The Starting Five: all five of the Sacramento starters finished scoring in double-figures. Beyond the starting five, the Kings used nine players in the game and seven of them scored in double-digits.
  • Willie Cauley-Stein was the Kings top scorer with 19 points. He also recorded six rebounds, three assists, two blocked shots and one steal in the contest.
  • The “old man” – Zach Randolph – put 17 points in the book playing just over 26 minutes in the game. Z-Bo also hauled in nine rebounds while going 2-for-2 from 3-point land.
  • De’Aaron Fox was the Kings only true point guard in the game with George Hill shipped off to Cleveland and Frank Mason III still out due to injury. Fox played almost 34-minutes scoring 13 points and distributing nine assists.

Trail Blazers

  • Maurice Harkless was the number two scorer for the Blazers with 15 points. Harkless shot 6-for-9 from the floor went 2-for-3 from behind the 3-point arc.
  • Shabazz Napier recorded 13 points coming off the bench. Napier shot a perfect 5-for-5 overall with three of those baskets coming from downtown.
  • CJ McCollum – one of the other players to score 50 points in three-quarters this season – was credited with 11 points shooting 5-for-13 from the floor.

Key Stats

Portland (31-25)

  • The Blazers shot 48.9-percent (43-for-88) overall in the game and hit 15-of-35 (42.9-percent) from 3-point range.
  • The Trail Blazers love the charity stripe. The converted 17-of-18 opportunities from the free throw line on Friday night.
  • Portland made 10 steals in the game. The Kings had a good night and they had five thefts.

Sacramento (17-37)

  • The Kings posted a 42.2-percent (38-for-90) field goal percentage versus Portland but hit only 9-of-23 attempts from long-range.
  • SAC went to the free throw line 21 times in the game and were successful 15 times (71.4-percent).
  • The Kings scored 20 second-chance points while Portland scored just two points when given an additional opportunity.

Up Next

Sacramento

The Kings will close the unofficial “first half” of the season off on the road. They will play their next game on Sunday in Minnesota versus the T-Wolves. Tip-off is scheduled for 4:00 PM PST.

Portland

The Trail Blazers will head back home and host the Utah Jazz on Sunday.

 

Same teams, different city with different result: Blazers down Kings 102-90

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by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings traveled to Portland to play the second game of a home and home, back-to-back set on Saturday night. The Kings hoped to make it two in a row over the Trail Blazers after their big win on Friday night. Those hopes would not be fulfilled.

The Blazers took their revenge on the Kings by winning game two 102-90. Portland combined strong defense with high-percentage shooting to prevent the Kings from ever having a real chance of winning the game.

PORTLAND (9-7)

Portland backcourt comes aliveELY_2788.CR2

 

The Trail Blazers starting guards – Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum – are the focal point of the Portland offense. If the two guards cannot be shutdown, the chances of beating “Rip City” becomes very problematic.

Against the Kings Saturday night, Lillard and McCollum combined to account for 47 of the Blazers 102 points.

McCollum scored a game-high 25 points shooting 9-for-16 overall and 4-for-7 from beyond the 3-point line. He also was a perfect 3-for-3 at the free throw line while dishing out four assists, grabbing four rebounds and making two steals.

Lillard posted 22 points hitting 8-of-18 shots from the field. He did have a rough night from long-range going just 1-for-8 from downtown. Lillard did convert 5-of-6 from the free throw line and recorded six assists.

Nurkic was a different player 

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Jusuf Nurkic was not factor on Friday night in Sacramento. On Saturday, the big man scored 14 points and pulled down seven rebounds. Nurkic was factor under the basket on both ends of the court.

Meyers Leonard was a real pain

A 7-foot-1 center is supposed to be parked down low near the basket – not if you are Meyers Leonard. Leonard is a long-range shooter who really does not have a great deal of skills under the bucket.

Leonard came off the bench to score 11 points for the Blazers. He shot 4-for-8 overall and hit 3-of-5 from beyond the 3-point line. Leonard also hauled in seven rebounds.

Rip City was on fire shooting the ball

Portland shot 54.3-percent (38-for-70) from the floor in the game while hitting 10-of-21 (47.6-percent)  three-point opportunites. The Blazers took advantage of the free throw line converting 16-of-21 opportunities from the stripe.

SACRAMENTO (4-12)

Cauley-Stein leads the way again

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Willie Cauley-Stein came off the bench for the Kings again on Saturday night and for the second game in a row he was the Kings high-scorer. The big man scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds against the Blazers.

Cauley-Stein went 1-for-1 from 3-point land. It was the first 3-point basket for Cauley-Stein of his NBA career.

Z-Bo is back

Big Zach Randolph did not score a point and looked tired on Friday night versus Portland. On Saturday night, he looked energized and ready to play. Randolph scored 17 points and pulled down five rebounds in his 21-plus minutes on the floor.

Randolph shot 6-for-11 overall including one 3-point basket. He went an impressive 4-for-5 from the free throw line.

Four guards scored in double figures

Frank Mason is making the most of his playing time. Saturday night he scored 13 points shooting 50-percent (5-for-10) from the field in his 19-minutes of playing time. Mason also added two assists.

George Hill had another strong game shooting 5-for-11 from the field and scoring 12 points. He converted 2-of-3 three-point opportunities.

Bogdan Bogdanovic showed signs that his shot may be coming back as he went 5-for-13 from the floor and hit 2-of-6 from downtown. His form has been looking good but the ball has just not been going through the hoop.

De’Aaron Fox got the start again as Dave Joerger went with the two point guard look once again. Fox scored 11 points in 27-minutes on the floor. Fox hit 5-of-9 from the floor and dished out two assists to go with two steals.

Almost everyone played

The Kings went with a 12-man bench for this game because Buddy Hield rolled his ankle on Friday night. The good news for Kings fans is that Hield was feeling much better on Saturday but was held out as a precaution. He is expected to be available for the game on Monday against Denver.

Only Justin Jackson did enter the game on Saturday night for the Kings. Jackson did not play on Friday versus the Blazers.

UP NEXT

KINGS

The Kings will return to action Monday night when they will host the Denver Nuggets at home. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 pm.

PORTLAND

The Trail Blazers head out on the road and will play in Memphis on Monday night.

 

 

Extra Dribbles: Warriors complete sweep of Trail Blazers to advance to West semis; await Jazz/Clippers winner

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

PORTLAND — All five starters scored in double figures led by Stephen Curry’s game-high 37 points as the Golden State Warriors completed a four-game sweep to advance to the conference semifinals by dismantling the Trail Blazers with a 128-103 victory Monday night.

The Warriors improve to 12-1 in the first round over the past three postseasons, per the Elias Sports Bureau.

This is the third four-game sweep in franchise history for Golden State. The Warriors swept the Washington Bullets in the 1975 NBA Finals, and the New Orleans Pelicans in 2015 en route to the championship that season.

Even without head coach Steve Kerr, who is away from the team to deal with lingering affects from back surgery in 2015, and assistant coach Mike Brown moving into Kerr’s chair for the second straight game (and for the foreseeable future), the Warriors played the brand of basketball that has become must-see-television for the past three seasons under Kerr in Game 4.

Curry shot 12-of-20 from the field, including 7-of-11 on 3s to go along with eight assists and seven rebounds in 30 minutes.

Draymond Green added 21 points, six rebounds, four assists, and three blocks in 33 minutes. Green, who by all accounts is the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year, leads all players with 4.7 blocks per game in the playoffs.

Klay Thompson, who struggled for most of the series shooting 37-percent from the field and 35-percent on 3s, bounced back in the clincher with 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting (3-of-5 on 3s) in 30 minutes.

Kevin Durant returned back in the starting lineup, adding 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting in 20 minutes.

Durant was sidelined in both Games 2 and 3 with a strained left calf, showed no signs of the injury whenever he drove the ball to the basket as evident of his dunk that increased Golden State’s lead to 22-3 at one point.

Golden State’s hot three-point shooting was in true form in Game 4, as the team knocked down 17-of-29 (58.6-perecent) from beyond the arc. The team had 27 assists (with 10 turnovers) on 46 made baskets (53.5-percent) from the floor, while holding a 45-39 edge on the boards.

The Warriors jumped out early on the Trail Blazers, scoring 45 points in the first quarter tying an NBA record for most points in a single quarter (Portland had 22 at the end of the first quarter). The Houston Rockets scored 45 points against Golden State on May 25, 2015 in Game 4 of their best-of-seven conference semifinals, per ESPN Stats and Information.

Portland was hit with a massive uppercut by the Warriors in the first quarter that they never recovered from the rest of the game.

Golden State started off hot in the first quarter, going on a 14-0 run before Portland scored their first basket, a three-pointer by Evan Turner. Golden State shot 15-of-18 in the first quarter and led as much as 33 points in the game.

By halftime, the game was never in doubt when Golden State was leading 72-48.

But Portland’s season really came to an end when Curry drained a rainbow three-pointer from 31-feet that pushed the Warriors’ lead to 104-77 late in the third quarter that sucked the final breath out of the Trail Blazers.

Damian Lillard, Oakland’s native son, tried to will Portland as he’s done for most of the season, led the Trail Blazers with 34 points on 12-of-24 shooting to go along with six assists. Lillard was given a standing ovation by the remainder of the Moda Center crowd when he left the floor at the 6:12 mark in the fourth quarter.

Al-Farouq Aminu finished with 25 points and seven rebounds in 35 minutes and Shabazz Napier scored 14 points off the bench for the Trail Blazers, who just completed their fourth-straight playoff appearance under head coach Terry Stotts.

Per ESPN Stats and Information, this is the first time since 1999 that the Trail Blazers have been swept in a best-of-seven series when they lost to the San Antonio Spurs, who went on to win their first NBA championship in franchise history after the NBA players’ lockout shorten the season to 50 games.

The real dud of the night was the performance of shooting guard, C.J. McCollum in the biggest game of the season for Portland which was real head scratching to watch.

After averaging 28.0 points per game in the series, McCollum was nowhere to be found in as he couldn’t buy a basket for most of the game.

McCollum started the first half shooting 0-of-7 from the floor.

According to ESPN Stats and Information, that was McCollum’s second scoreless first half of the season. McCollum finished the game 2-of-12 from the floor for just six points.

With the Jazz-Clippers series tied at 2-2, Golden State won’t play another game until this weekend which will give the team a  chance to rest. Getting players like Shawn Livingston (right index finger sprain) and Matt Barnes (right ankle/foot sprain) additional rest will be key for Golden State.

Livingston hasn’t played since Game 1, while Barnes hasn’t been available for the entire series.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Extra Dribbles: Short-handed Warriors put 3-0 stranglehold on Trail Blazers

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

PORTLAND — Stephen Curry scored a game-high 34 points to go along with eight assists and Klay Thompson finished with 24 points and the Warriors erased a 16-point third quarter deficit to put the Trail Blazers on the brink of elimination with a hard-fought 119-113 victory Saturday night in Portland.

Both Curry (10-of-25) and Thompson (8-of-21) struggled in the first half before finding their respective strokes in the second half.

Andre Iguodala scored 16 points and Patrick McCaw (starting his second career postseason game), added 11 points.

Draymond Green had another stat-sheet filling night with nine points, eight rebounds, seven assists, and six blocks.

With the win, Golden State snaps a five-game postseason losing streak in Game 3s. Through the first three games, Golden State’s +47 combined win margin is the largest for any playoff series in franchise history.

Golden State can send the Trail Blazers fishing for the summer with a win in Game 4 on Monday night in Portland.

Without head coach Steve Kerr (illness), Kevin Durant (calf), Shaun Livingston (hand), and Matt Barnes (ankle),  the Golden State Warriors resembled more of the walking wounded rather than the NBA’s best team entering Game 3 of their best-of-7 series; but played smart and calm down the stretch that resulted in the victory.

Check out my takeaways below that led to Golden State’s win:

Golden State owned the third quarter: Trailing 82-66 after a Damian Lillard finger roll with 6:20 left in the third quarter, the Warriors stormed back with a 19-1 run, taking an 85-83 lead when JaVale McGee slammed through a lob with 2:01 left in the quarter.

Golden State overcame a 16-point hole and 52-42 rebounding edge by the Blazers to neutralize Portland to 30.4-percent shooting for the quarter. During their hot run, Golden State held Portland to 0-of-8 shooting, with three turnovers.

Per ESPN Stats and Information, Thompson made more 3s in the third (4) than total field goals made (3) in the first half.

The Warriors ended the third quarter on a 21-6 run.

Take another bow, McGee: There’s no question that Curry and Thompson were huge in Golden State’s second half comeback, but the play of McGee in Game 3 was just as vital.

McGee, who has been referenced as a “vertical spacer” by the Warriors’ coaching staff, has been just that against the Trail Blazers this series with his penchant for catching the lob pass for hammering dunks.

In 16 minutes on the floor tonight, McGee scored 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor, to go along with four rebounds. The reserve center was +24 whenever he was on the court.

When you combine his performances from Game 1 (6 points on 3-of-4 FG) and Game 2 (15 points on 7-of-7 shooting) with his line from Game 3 (14 points on 6-of-8 shooting), McGee has scored 35 points on 16-of-19 shooting.

Portland’s backcourt is fun to watch and aren’t the problem: Through the first three games, Lillard and C.J. McCollum have made life difficult for the NBA’s second-ranked defense during the regular season with their ability to score nearly at will. Outside of Game 2, Portland’s electrifying backcourt has torched Golden State:

In Game 1: 75 of Portland’s 109 points on 38-of-54 shooting (7-of-15 3FG).

In Game 2: 23 of Portland’s 80 points on 9-of-34 shooting (1-of-7 3FG).

In Game 3: 63 of Portland’s 119 points on 20-of-46 shooting (10-of-22 3FG).

McCollum led all Trail Blazers with 32 points and Lillard finished with 31 points, seven rebounds, and four assists in Game 3, where Portland was feeding off of its raucous crowd.

Portland did get center Jusuf Nurkic back in the starting lineup for Game 3 after missing the first two games of the series with a non-displaced fracture in his left leg he suffered late in the season that caused him to miss the final seven games.

Nurkic finished with two points and 11 rebounds in 17 minutes of action and was a non-factor.

Al-Farouq Aminu had 14 points and nine rebounds to lead Portland’s bench, while Noah Vonleh added 10 points and seven rebounds.

Allen Crabbe, whose struggled in the series shooting just 33-percent from the floor, scored eight.

Golden State held the edge in points in the paint (46-38) and fastbreak points (22-6).

Extra Dribbles: Without Durant, Warriors wallop Trail Blazers in Game two 110-81

Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry drives to the basket against the Portland Trail Blazers during Game 2 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Wednesday, April 19, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. (Ezra Shaw, Getty Images via AP, Pool)

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

OAKLAND — Even without star forward Kevin Durant, who didn’t play due to a left calf strain, the Golden State Warriors were able to impose their will in dominating fashion to take a 2-0 lead over the Portland Trail Blazers 110-81 Wednesday night at Oracle Arena.

Game 3 is Saturday night in Portland.

Check out my takeaways below that led to Golden State’s win in the best-of-7 first-round series:

The Splash Brothers were just damp in Game 2

Stephan Curry (6 of 18 FG) led Golden State with 19 points and Klay Thompson (6 of 17 FG) added 16 points, but the duo combined to shoot just 12 of 35 from the floor (7 of 20 3FG).

Curry couldn’t find the bottom of the basket in the first half, shooting 2 of 10 from the floor with 6 points and 4 assists, while Thompson started cold in the first half, knocking down just 3 of 9 from the floor for 8 points.

Patrick McCaw, who started in place of Durant, had nine points and five rebounds.

I don’t expect the Warriors prized backcourt to have another slow shooting night, especially in Portland, where Golden State will be greeted by a rabid Moda Center in prime time.

Golden State jumped out to a 33-17 lead in the first quarter, shooting 13 of 22 from the field on 11 assists, before finishing with a 31 to 17 assist advantage over the Trail Blazers.

The Warriors turned up the defense in the opening frame, holding Portland to just 6 of 21 from the field.

Golden State’s biggest lead of the game was 32 points 96-64 midway through the fourth quarter.

Draymond Green is always on time: Although he didn’t score 19 points tonight as he did in Game 1 finishing with just 6, Green was up to his old tricks again filling up the stat sheet.

Green recorded 12 rebounds and 10 assists in Game 2, a nice follow up to his 19 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists in Game 1.

Center of attention: There are still times where I scratch my head and wonder how are the Warriors making lemonade out of their weakest position, center?

JaVale McGee actually led Golden State in scoring at halftime, piling up 15 points on 7 of 7 shooting. Granted, a bunch of those shots were putbacks and one spin-move that left Trail Blazers center Noah Vonleh’s head spin.

McGee scored 6 points on 3 of 4 shooting in Game 1 before coming alive for the Warriors in Game 2.

Throw in Zsa Zsa Pachulia’s 10 points on 5 of 8 shooting, James Michael McAdoo’s 7 points on 2 of 5 shooting, and Damian Jones’s free throw, Golden State’s big men contributed 33 points on 14 of 20 shots from the floor.

The Warriors controlled the paint, outscoring Portland 50 to 36 inside and held a 54 to 47 rebounding edge.

There is no secret that the loss of center Jusef Nurkic has been a glaring hole for Portland, who are hoping that the big man could suit up when the Trail Blazers return home for Games 3 and 4.

After gigantic performances in Game 1, Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum were duds in Game 2: Look, the writing is on the wall for the Trail Blazers. Portland has a backcourt that is comparable to the Splash Brothers, but they can’t do it by themselves.

After combining for 75 points on 52% shooting (7 of 15 3FG) in Game 1, Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum couldn’t carry Portland in Game 2 as Lillard and McCollum combined for 23 points on 9 of 34 from the floor.

Golden State put the clamps on Portland’s dynamic backcourt after the pair were virtually un-guardable in Game 1.

McCollum finished with a career playoff-high with 41 points while draining four 3-pointers, but was just 4 of 17 from the floor.

Lillard was missing in action as the Warriors held the Oakland product to just 12 points on 5 of 14 shooting.

Lillard and McCollum are fantastic scorers, but it was forward Maurice Harkless who led Portland with 15 points and eight rebounds in Game 2.

Shabazz Napier was the only other Portland player in double digits with 10 points. Allen Crabbe shot just 3 of 10 in Game 2, finishing with just 6 points and was 0 of 4 from beyond the arc.

This was Golden State’s 12th win in their last 13 meetings with Portland in the postseason. The last time Portland defeated Golden State in the playoffs, it was in Game 3 of last season’s Western Conference Semifinals.