PORTLAND, Ore. — After outplaying the Golden State Warriors for the first three quarters but faltering down the stretch in Game 2, the Portland Trail Blazers finished the job Saturday.
Scoring flurries from Damian Lillard and Al-Farouq Aminu in the second quarter, followed by two periods of not allowing the Champs to sustain runs — something the Blazers failed to do in the last contest at Oracle Arena — keyed Portland’s 120-108 victory. The Dubs lead the series 2-1.
“You can’t go down 3-0, period,” Lillard said after the game.
Wearing the letter “O” for his hometown Oakland, the fourth-year guard hit a pair of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to kill any hope of a Warrior comeback. Lillard finished the game with 40 points, a career high for a playoff game. He added 10 assists while committing just three turnovers against the Warriors’ normally stifling defense.
“There was no question in my mind that [Lillard] was going to come and have a really good game tonight,” head coach Terry Stotts said. “That’s just how he’s built.”
The Dubs blitzed Lillard on the perimeter after halftime in hopes of forcing the ball out of his hands, content to shift the scoring onus onto anyone else.
Unfortunately for Golden State, Aminu answered the call. He consistently made the Warriors pay for sagging off of him by catapulting in 3-pointers from the corner. The forward ultimately contributed 23 points on nine shots.
Draymond Green scored 28 in the second half alone, drilling seven-of-eight from beyond the 3-point arc. He finished the game with 37 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. Despite a strong individual performance, Green shouldered the blame for the loss.
“We didn’t play with enough urgency to win,” Green said. “I feel like I didn’t lead my troops tonight, and I was horrendous on the defensive end.”
Before Saturday, the Champs had not allowed a team to score more than 106 points in this postseason. Only once in last year’s title run did a team score more than 119.
“They think they can do it now,” said Green after the game. “We know otherwise.”
It’s unclear if the loss will speed up Stephen Curry’s timetable for a return. The team has until Monday to decide whether the reigning MVP will be cleared to play in his first game since Game 4 of the first round.