Portland vs. Golden State Game 3 Preview

After a convincing Golden State win in Game 1 it looks as if the Warriors may be on their way to an easy series vs. an inferior opponent. However in Game 2 the Trailblazers showed the toughness and grit that had them remain a playoff team despite losing 4 starters in the offseason either via trades or free agency. A 59-51 halftime Portland lead was stretched to 87-76 entering the 4th quarter. Klay Thompson hit a 3 pointer with 5:33 left in the game to give the Warriors their first lead of the night and they would continue the comeback from there en route to a 110-99 win and a 2-0 lead in the series.

The Warriors have managed to get off to a 2-0 lead without the services of defending MVP Steph Curry who has been out of action with a knee injury. His status for game 3 and the remainder of the series is up in the air. With the lead in the series they should be in no rush to put him back on the court. Thompson finished with a team high 27 points. Draymond Green continued his ascent to the elite players in the league with 17 points, 14 rebounds, and 7 assists. Shaun Livingston, who has shined replacing Curry in the starting lineup, had 14 points and 4 assists. Harrison Barnes had 13 points. Super-sub Andre Iguodala had 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists.

Portland was destroyed in game one and then went toe to toe with the Warriors in game 2. The key to game three will be to prove that game one was the fluke of the series and that the competitive group that dominated game 2 will be on display for the remainder of the series. Damian Lillard had 25 points and 6 assists in a fantastic performance over 40 minutes played. C. J McCollum had 22 points and joined Lillard in constantly attacking the basket to create opportunities for himself or others. Al- Farouq Aminu had 14 points and 6 rebounds while connecting on 3-5 from the three-point line. His improved outside shooting is a key to the series, as it will help keep the defenses honest and provide more room for McCollum and Lillard to operate. Maurice Harkless had 11 points and 7 rebounds while Gerald Henderson came off the bench with 12 points. Those 12 points were among only 19 scored by the Portland bench, which is a number that will have to improve in order for them to have any chance in the series.

Portland is a tough home team and they will need every bit of energy that the home crowd can provide, especially when you consider they are going up against the defending champions who are coming off an historic 73-9 season. Things will only be tougher for them if Curry plays. Portland has over achieved all season long to this point so there is no reason to start doubting them now.

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