The Portland Trail Blazers and Golden State Warriors went at it again on Saturday night, fresh off the Blazers beating the Warriors on a game winning Damian Lillard three in their last outing. Lillard dropped 40 more points tonight and Jusuf Nurkic added a double-double, but it was not enough to avoid Golden State’s revenge. The Blazers fell to the Warriors by a score of 115-105. Klay Thompson poured in 32 while Steph Curry and Kevin Durant contributed 25 each.
Game 2 Adjustments
It wasn't exactly playoffs, but after the two teams met just two days ago, it felt like it. On Thursday, the Warriors struggled with Jusuf Nurkic on the block, both scoring and passing. They started out this game doubling Nurk on the catch when he was in the scoring area. They doubled baseline on the dribble when he caught away from the basket. As the game progressed, the Warriors mixed up coverage on the Bosnian center. Nurkic did a great job reading the defense and for the most part, made the right play. He finished with 7 assists to go along with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
Battle of the shooting guards
Over the last two seasons, the winner of the scoring duel between Klay Thompson and CJ McCollum has emerged victorious when the teams have met. If Portland’s second-leading scorer can’t outscore Golden State’s third-leading scorer, they suffer. Thompson, who had been struggling to find his shot as of late, had no problem hitting today. McCollum made almost no mark on the game and finished with 14 points on 17 shots.
These two ball clubs know each other well. They have kept their cores together, meeting in the playoffs twice over the last three years. There hasn’t been any love lost during that time. Tonight was no exception. The whole game was feisty--between players, and with the refs. Andre Iguodala was ejected at halftime for throwing the ball in the stands. Nurkic and Draymond Green jawed at each other; both picked up technical fouls. Lillard and head coach Terry Stotts joined the party late in the game, earning technicals for arguing with officials.
Portland was behind almost the entire game, and although they threatened to make a comeback a few times, they were never able to grab a lead after the first quarter.
Lillard and Nurkic did their jobs and were borderline spectacular, scoring 61 of Portland’s 105 points. Someone else needed to step up offensively, and that didn't happen. In Thursday’s victory, Portland’s second unit was not only able to hold their own, they even gained ground. Tonight, the second unit cratered, making a comeback less and less likely the more they played.
Damian Lillard - Lillard did everything he could to haul Portland’s offense to a respectable performance. He caught fire early, chipping in 15 in the first. Then he outdid himself with 20 in the third. Lillard looked great in all facets tonight. He had some great finds out of the trap to set up teammates, cut well, moved without the ball, and of course, hit shots. 40 points on 23 attempts is a great performance.
Jusuf Nurkic - While Lillard carried the scoring load, Nurkic was the Blazers’ spark. On the boards, on the block, passing out of the pick and roll, and controlling the paint defensively.
Maurice Harkless/Al-Farouq Aminu - Both guys were relatively quiet offensively tonight, combining for just 12 points on 5/15 shooting, but they were both active all game long. The length and switchability of Portland’s starting forwards is critical against the Warriors. A combined 20 rebounds (8 offensive), 4 steals, and 3 blocks from the pair show that they did their job. A few more buckets would have helped though.
The whole bench - Hard to come up with anything the bench did tonight. Meyers Leonard had two impressive dunks...
The Blazers host the Sixers at home Sunday 12/30.