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Depth overcomes lack of KD, Warriors roll Blazers in Game 2

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Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) congratulates Golden State Warriors center JaVale McGee (1) after dunking in the first quarter of Game 2 of the First Round of the Western Conference 2017 NBA Playoffs against the Portland Trail Blazers at Oracle Arena on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 in Oakland, Calif. (Emma Marie Chiang/Special to the S.F. Examiner)
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OAKLAND — Undeterred by a gutting Game 7 in the NBA Finals last season, the Golden State Warriors recycled their “Strength in Numbers” slogan for this year’s playoffs.

In Game 2 of the first round, the Dubs proved that it’s an apt motto — even if it does conjure unfortunate memories.

Admittedly, there were few adverse moments against the Blazers last year in the playoffs, and there were none on Wednesday, when the Warriors won 110-81.

Playing on adrenaline and without a former MVP in Kevin Durant, the Warriors were able to extend their first-quarter lead to as many as 16. Meanwhile, they held the Blazers to 27.3 percent shooting while forcing the away team into eight turnovers.

That lead waned in the second, when Kerr was forced to split up his remaining three stars and play the reserves. With 4:01 on the clock, the Warriors head coach was forced to call a timeout in an attempt to shift momentum after the Blazers cut the Golden State lead to four. Patrick McCaw had looked timid when catching the ball on the perimeter and was passing up open shots.

After the break, the rookie played like a switch had been flipped.

“The main thing I liked was that he was unafraid,” Kerr said afterward.

At the same point of the game, JaVale McGee checked into the game.

On his next attempt, McCaw rose and shot the ball with confidence, drilling a 3-pointer to restore the Warriors’ four-point lead — a margin they wouldn’t fall below again.

In the final four minutes of the second quarter, McGee and McCaw combined to score all 12 of their team’s points.

But, it was the third quarter when the Warriors landed the knockout blow. Portland managed just 12 points on 27.3 percent shooting. On the other end, the Golden State starting backcourt shook out of its shooting slump and poured in 19 points.

The defining moment of the game — and possibly the series if it wraps up in four — came when Klay Thompson stuffed Damian Lillard’s block attempt at the rim, ran up the floor, caught a skip pass from Stephen Curry, and hit a transition 3-pointer.

“For him to go vertical and then just block the shot like that was a pretty monstrous block,” Green said. “You know, it was fitting that he got a three at the end. That’s what Klay’s all about. He’s about getting his shots up.”

Curry would go on to finish with a game-high 19 points (and +32, also the best of anyone who played), while Thompson scored 16.

Before the game, Kerr explained why the Warriors were holding Durant out of action.

“It’s not worth it,” the third-year head coach said.

Kerr’s players then validated his statement time and time again en route to a 2-0 lead in a series that now moves to Portland.

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Meyers Leonard hit Green with clothesline in the early third quarter. Green hit the deck and the referees dispersed to review the hit.

They came back with a decision it was a common foul.

That led Green to share some words with the officials as he shot his two free throws.

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