Kevin Durant might not be on the court, but the Golden State Warriors are still getting his kind of production in their playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers.
It’s just that it’s coming from Draymond Green.
Green recorded his seventh career postseason triple-double and Stephen Curry saved 21 of his game-high 36 points for the second half Saturday night as the Warriors rallied to stun the host Trail Blazers 110-99 for a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference finals.
The top-seeded Warriors, playing without Durant and DeMarcus Cousins, will go for the series sweep in the best-of-seven and a berth in their fifth consecutive NBA Finals on Monday night in Portland.
It appears they’ll have to do it without Andre Iguodala, who left the game in the third quarter with a sore Achilles. He has been scheduled for an MRI exam on Sunday.
He wasn’t missed for the final 20 minutes in Game 3, however, thanks in large part to Green.
“It’s one of the best games I’ve ever seen Draymond play,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr gushed to reporters afterward.
“I don’t even know what to say. He’s like a wrecking ball, destroying everything in his path. He played at an incredible pace. He never got tired.”
Surely, the Golden State defense never rested, holding the Trail Blazers to 33 points in the second half after they’d put up 66 in the first two periods.
For the second consecutive game, Golden State dominated the third quarter to get back in the game after trailing by double digits at halftime.
Down by 13 at the break and 73-59 four minutes into the third quarter after a 3-pointer by Meyers Leonard, Golden State used an 18-3 flurry to take its first lead of the game at 77-76 with 1:54 left in the period. Six Warriors contributed points to the run, including Klay Thompson, who had six.
“We’ve been down in many games,” Kerr explained of the second-half push.
“Our guys know we have an excellent defensive scheme and we have explosive scorers. Thirteen points could be two or three minutes; that’s how we look at it.
“It all started with our second-half defense.”
Encouraged by their home crowd for the first time in the series, the Trail Blazers tied the game at 82-all on a 3-pointer by Zach Collins in the first minute of the final period.
But with Curry on the bench for a rest, Thompson hit a tie-breaking jumper, Quinn Cook buried consecutive shots and Jonas Jerebko dropped in a jumper as the Warriors opened an eight-point lead that they were able to massage to the finish.
“Our offense fell apart,” Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts observed.
“We missed some shots. Took some tough shots. Didn’t move the ball as well. They were scoring, so we were taking it out of the net (and we) didn’t get any transition.
“I said at the beginning of the series: To beat Golden State, you’ve got to be able to score. Scoring 33 points in the second half isn’t going to do it.”
Thompson complemented Curry’s 36 points with 19 of his own, helping the Golden State All-Star backcourt outscore the Trail Blazers’ tandem of CJ McCollum (23) and Damian Lillard (19) 55-42 in a battle of premier guards.
Green was the dominant frontcourt player in the game, accumulating 20 points, 13 rebounds, 12 assists and four steals. He had a triple-double assured before the third quarter had ended.
“All of my teammates and coaches have been telling me, ‘Dray, get to the hole. Be aggressive,’” Green said.
“We’ve got guys out there – Steph, Klay – they get plenty of (defensive) attention. So it’s on me to do my job.”
McCollum shot just 2 for 10 on 3-pointers and Lillard just 5 for 18 overall for Portland, which lost at home for just the second time in the postseason.
“I tried to get aggressive, tried to force the action,” Lillard insisted.
“Both guys (Curry and Thompson) staying with me, and Draymond coming up from behind. You’re up against a wall of defense. Sometimes three defenders.
“It’s tough. You’ve not going to always get a quality shot.”
Leonard finished with 16 points and Evan Turner 12 for Portland, which has now lost 11 of 12 playoff games to the Warriors in the last four seasons.
En route to a road win in an NBA-record 22nd consecutive series, the Warriors outshot the Trail Blazers 48.8 percent to 40.0.
After telling his team just before the start that the game was a “must win,” Stotts made a lineup change that paid immediate dividends.
Leonard, who never left the bench in Game 1, was inserted into the starting lineup and produced 13 first-half points as the Trail Blazers went up 66-53 by halftime.
Not only did Leonard have an early impact, but so did demoted big man Enes Kanter, who came off the bench to contribute seven points and five rebounds in just seven minutes.
Portland led by as many as 18 points in the half, the Warriors’ largest deficit of the postseason.
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