What a start. Despite Nurkic moving slowly, the Blazers moved the rock around and took an early 11-3 lead behind a roaring crowd. The Blazers swarmed on defense, and found the open shooter on offense, and by the halfway point of the quarter, had doubled up Golden State, 20-10. Golden State mounted their first run, cutting Portland’s lead to 4. But the Blazers responded with 3-point plays from Lillard and Aminu to restore an 8 point lead late in the quarter. Lillard nailed a floater in the final seconds to maintain a 7-point lead at the buzzer.
Nurkic returned for the second quarter, and within a minute, Portland’s lead jumped into double-digits. The Warriors started to look discombobulated, then Aminu grabbed a loose ball and passed it to Allen Crabbe for three. It swished, as the whistle sounded for a four-point play. Despite the 15 point Blazers lead, the Warriors were bound to make a run. And at the halfway point of the quarter, a Stephen Curry three-pointer on the break cut Portland’s lead back to 8. The Warriors could get no closer, leading to a David West flagrant foul committed on Evan Turner. Soon, Portland’s lead reached a game-high 17 after two McCollum free throws. Golden State cut it to 13 by halftime.
Dame and CJ combined for 39 in the first half! pic.twitter.com/kiDDExDRSr— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) April 23, 2017
The third quarter was the CJ McCollum show, as he scored 10 straight points for the Blazers to keep them ahead by more than 15. But Golden State patiently stayed close, and Curry’s three-pointer pulled them to within 9 with four minutes remaining in the third. Within two minutes, a Thompson three-pointer complete a 12-0 run and cut the Blazer lead to 4, forcing a timeout. Another Thompson three, an Andre Iguodala dunk, and an alley-oop to McGee, and suddenly the Warriors had the lead. Aminu’s three finally stopped the run, but Golden State had taken control. Portland clung to a 1 point lead heading into the fourth.
Golden State quickly took a three-point lead early in the quarter. But McCollum’s three-pointer put Portland back into the lead soon after, forcing a Warriors timeout. Portland struggled to get good looks, as Golden State sagged off Aminu and focused on their shooters. At the other end, they were able to find their own shooters successfully. Soon, the Warriors led by 4, and Portland had 6 minutes to save their season. Turner cut the lead to 2, but promptly fouled Curry for two free throws. A Warrior steal and dunk pushed the Blazers’ deficit to 6 with five minutes remaining. Then 8 with four minutes remaining. McCollum hit free throws, and Lillard missed a three.. but another Vonleh putback slam cut the deficit to 4. But another Blazers turnover led to a Warriors dunk and a 6 point lead with 2:30 left. Yet another Blazers turnover gave the Warriors another chance. Then an offensive rebound for another chance. Then another chance. And it led to a three-pointer from Curry to seal a Warriors victory, and a late-game disaster that will sit in the Blazers’ heads all summer.
Game 4, if you dare, is Monday at 7:30 on TNT. But stay tuned tonight for full game analysis.