Last Updated: 2019-05-17
Portland had its chance to steal a win in Oakland. The Trail Blazers were up 15 points on the Warriors at halftime of Game 2, and it looked like they would be able to even the series before it headed back to Rip City. Unfortunately, that lead evaporated in the third quarter after Golden State dropped 39 points, and the Warriors rallied to win 114-111. Now, Portland is in a must-win situation in Game 3.
Jusuf Nurkic is a long-term injury for the Trail Blazers, and Portland hasn’t had the big man since he fractured his lower leg at the end of March.
Meanwhile, Golden State continues to be without its two best big men in Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins. There was initially speculation that both players could return in this series, but that optimism has cooled significantly in recent weeks. Durant appears unlikely to play this entire series, while Cousins won’t play in Game 3 and is very doubtful to play in Game 4.
Initially, the Blazers were a two-point favorite coming into Game 3 on Saturday night, but that line quickly moved up to 2.5 after Portland proved it could battle with Golden State. There has been some money on Golden State since the bump, and some books have brought the line back down to where it opened as a result. The total has been moved up from 221 to 221.5.
Thursday night was a lost opportunity for Portland. The Blazers got some great shooting out of their bench, while the Warriors struggled from the three-point line. After some subpar performances throughout the postseason, Portland’s bench managed to go 14-29 from the field in Game 2. Rodney Hood wasn’t the leading bench scorer for once as Seth Curry did a slight imitation of his older brother, and the Blazers would love to see their bench do that again in Game 3.
Zach Collins needs to get going though. The Gonzaga product had some big moments in the Denver series, but he was a non-factor in Game 1 and even worse in Game 2. Collins picked up five fouls and turned the ball over twice in just eight minutes last night. He was expected to take advantage of Golden State’s lack of size in this series, but instead he ceded time to Meyers Leonard.
Surprisingly, Enes Kanter was largely a non-factor in Game 2. His shoulder injury may finally be wearing on him, or maybe it’s the difficulty of playing during Ramadan, but he finished with just four points and five rebounds in 19 minutes. Kanter has been incredibly important throughout Portland’s playoff run, and the Blazers are hoping for more in Game 3.
Steph Curry continues to come up big for Golden State. He and Draymond Green are largely running the offense at this point, and both players are triple double candidates on a nightly basis. Curry didn’t shoot well from downtown in Game 2, but he went 7-8 on two-pointers and made all 11 of his free throw attempts.
Green and Curry will need to limit the turnovers in Game 3. The duo combined to turn the ball over 11 times in Game 2, and that nearly led to a Warriors loss. Portland is unlikely to waste opportunities again, so Golden State must protect the ball more.
Kevon Looney is making a name for himself this postseason. Andrew Bogut has been the starter in name only, and the Australian is now playing single digit minutes a game. Looney has seen his workload increase over the last couple weeks, and Golden State’s faith in him continues to grow. Don’t be surprised if he ends up with 16 or more points here, but I think Portland will get the win.
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