Advertisement


NBA

Game 2 Preview: Golden State Warriors vs. Portland Trail Blazers

on

For three quarters Sunday afternoon, the Portland Trail Blazers looked ready to shock the basketball community and steal a Game 1 win against Golden State on their home court.

Then the Warriors did what they’ve done all season, and hit the extra gear.

With the score knotted at 88 after the third quarter, Draymond Green led a 15-5 second-unit Warriors run for the first half of the fourth quarter. By the time Steph Curry and Kevin Durant checked back into the game, Golden State was in command, 103-93.

Despite career playoff performances by Portland’s backcourt duo of C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard — 41 and 34 points, respectively — the Trail Blazers received just 34 points TOTAL from the rest of their eight players that checked into Game 1. Missing starting center Jusuf Nurkic due to injury forced the Blazers to try and run-and-gun with the Warriors, and as noted in our Game 1 Preview, playing Golden State that way can only last so long.

Unfortunately for the Trail Blazers, without Nurkic, Game 2 will end in much of the same fashion.

Green was the most impactful player on the floor to start this series. In addition to scoring 19 points, Green had 12 rebounds, nine assists, 5 blocks, three steals and just one turnover. He was Golden State’s difference maker. Without having to worry about Nurkic banging around down on the block for rebounds and low-post scoring, Green will be able to run wild in Game 2, switching seamlessly on defense and facilitating on offense.

Along with the dominance that Green added from every area of the court, Sunday’s game saw Kevin Durant and Steph Curry combine for 61 points. The only star of Golden State’s core who didn’t have a shining game was Klay Thompson, who scored 15 points on 16 shots. And yet, the Warriors still flexed their muscles to wind up with a 121-109 victory.

Portland isn’t going to get many better performances from McCollum and Lillard this series. When your two best players score 75 points together and you still lose the game, there isn’t much left to be hopeful about. The only chance the Trail Blazers have at stealing a win from the Warriors is if Nurkic returns to the lineup and can make an impact inside.

The Warriors held an advantage in just about every statistical category in Game 1, even turnovers. Golden State will need to clean up ball-control a bit in Game 2 to repeat their result. Turnovers and hot shooting from the opposition are mainly why Portland stuck around so long in this series’ inaugural game.

Even with the danger of McCollum and Lillard shooting lights-out, Golden State found themselves victorious at the end of the game behind a final quarter run that asserted their dominance as the Western Conference’s most lethal team.

Who Wins Game 2?

With Nurkic’s status still unclear for Game 2, Golden State should have an easier victory than the one they secured in Game 1. The chances that McCollum and Lillard both repeat their high-scoring nights to that extent is unlikely, which should lend more opportunity to the Warriors pulling away early.

As the first leg of this series wraps up at Oracle Arena, the defending Western Conference champions will be heading back to Portland up 2-0 on the Trail Blazers.

Make sure to follow Basketball Insiders on Twitter at @BBallInsiders.

About Dennis Chambers

Dennis Chambers

Dennis Chambers is an NBA writer in his first season with Basketball Insiders. Based out of Philadelphia he has previously covered NCAA basketball and high school recruiting.