Golden State Warriors (67-15) at Portland Trail Blazers (41-41)
April 22, 2017, 7:30 PST
Watch: ESPN, KGW; Listen: Rip City Radio 620 AM
Blazers injuries: Jusuf Nurkic (doubtful), Ed Davis (out), Festus Ezeli (out)
Warriors injuries: Kevin Durant (questionable), Shaun Livingston (questionable), Matt Barnes (questionable), Kevon Looney (out)
SBN Affiliate: Golden State Of Mind
Update (2:00 p.m.): Jusuf Nurkic will reportedly be a pregame decision, after he tests his leg on the court.
Sources: Portland center Jusuf Nurkic's status for Game 3 vs. Warriors will be determined after he tests leg in pregame work on floor.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) April 22, 2017
Update (4:27 p.m.): Warriors head coach Steve Kerr will not coach tonight due to illness, according to Chris Haynes of ESPN.
Steve Kerr will not coach tonight due to illness. Assistant Mike Brown will coach Game 3 against Trail Blazers.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) April 22, 2017
The Trail Blazers return home to the Moda Center after dropping the first two games of their first-round series against the Warriors. Portland suffered a 29-point drubbing on Wednesday, and they’ll be looking to their home crowd to remove the horrible taste remaining from that contest.
The scariest aspect of Golden State’s blowout victory in Game 2 was the manner in which they racked up 110 points. With Kevin Durant sidelined, the Warriors were still able to establish an early lead and maintain it for all but a small portion of the second quarter. It was a complete team effort by coach Steve Kerr’s squad, as Steph Curry managed to lead all scorers with a modest 19-point performance.
Speaking of Curry, it’s only a matter of time before the Warriors’ backcourt puts together an impressive game. Along with Klay Thompson, Golden State’s starting guards accounted for 47.6 points per game in the regular season, but the duo is performing nearly 10 points below that average in the last two outings. The Blazers have done a solid job of smothering Thompson on defense, but the former Washington State guard is more than capable of getting red-hot while under pressure.
Corralling the Warriors’ offense hasn’t been the biggest problem for the Blazers in this series, as Portland is in desperate need of a third option behind its talented guard tandem. Golden State’s defense has placed all its focus on Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, and the results haven’t been pretty for coach Terry Stotts’ offense.
The Blazers’ role players must find a way to create space, but nobody has stepped up to the challenge through two games. Maurice Harkless, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Allen Crabbe have shot a paltry 4-for-23 from beyond the arc against Warriors to start the series. This has allowed Golden State’s defenders to pack the paint, forcing Lillard and McCollum to settle for low percentage shots.
It has been a rough series for Portland so far, but this squad has had success in the past upon returning home in the playoffs. Last postseason, the Blazers managed to win Game 3 against both the Clippers and Warriors. If Portland somehow comes away with an upset, it will breathe new life into a series that has been dominated by Golden State for five consecutive quarters.