Photo credit: @warriors
By: Ana Kieu
The Golden State Warriors walked into the Moda Center to take on the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 3 of the NBA Western Conference Finals Saturday night. The Warriors entered with a 2-0 series lead, which was commanding, but the series wasn’t over yet. The Warriors still had some work to do.
The Warriors’ starting lineup featured Steph Curry, Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Damian Jones. Andrew Bogut was initially slated to start, but Damian Jones reportedly got the nod just moments before the tip-off.
The Blazers played beautiful basketball in the first half.
The Blazers’ back court of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum hit back-to-back three-pointers early in the first quarter. Also, Meyers Leonard made the most out of his second career postseason start. Leonard was a last-minute replacement for Enes Kanter in the Blazers’ starting lineup.
Steph Curry hit a couple of threes and Shaun Livingston’s mid-range shooting game was on fire. But the Blazers held a 29-27 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
The Blazers, however, showed the Warriors how basketball should be played in the second quarter. Zach Collins blocked Klay Thompson’s shot for a potential bucket early in the second quarter. Also, Evan Turner made mid-range shots as well as threes from the corner.
Sure, Dub Nation was thrilled to see Draymond Green make a buzzer-beating layup to end the first half. But it was the Blazers who took a 66-53 lead to the locker room at the break.
Meyers Leonard achieved a playoff career-high 16 points in the third quarter. But it was Draymond Green who stole the show by playing with such great energy. Green made some spiffy layups, despite multiple Blazers defenders all around him.
The Warriors finally took a one-point lead 77-76 with 1:54 left in the third quarter. The explosive play of Draymond Green and the slight leadership of Steph Curry and Jordan Bell contributed to the Warriors’ big run. Green had his seventh career playoff triple-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
The Blazers gave the Warriors a hard time and Steph Curry made a pass to Jordan Bell for a two, but the buzzer sounded before the shot was made and the Warriors settled for a 82-79 lead at the end of the third quarter.
The Blazers were well-aware that they had 12 minutes to get the lead back.
CJ McCollum slid down the court on an arguable right hand grab and received a pair of free throws, but failed to make one or both of them. McCollum later made a two that pulled the Blazers within six 90-84 with 7:09 left in the fourth quarter. Then, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr called a timeout for his team to regroup for a little bit.
It was quite a turnaround for the Warriors, who had an 11-point lead 100-89 with 4:18 left in the fourth quarter. Steph Curry stepped up his game, too. Curry’s efforts helped the Warriors to a 110-99 win and a 3-0 series lead.
Check out the Warriors’ final stats below.
Moreover, Draymond Green became the fifth player in NBA history to tally a triple-double (20 points, 13 rebounds, 12 assists and four steals) in three straight NBA Playoffs series in a single postseason.
Game 4 will be Monday night at 6:00 pm on ESPN.