Finding lightening in a bottle as they often have during their run, the Golden State Warriors rallied back from a 17-point second-half deficit to stun the Portland Trail Blazers in a dramatic 114-111 Game 2 victory to take a 2-0 series lead in the Western Conference Finals.
Stephen Curry scored a game-high 37 points to go along with eight assists and eight rebounds. Klay Thompson finished with 24 points, while Draymond Green stuffed the stat sheet with 16 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and five blocks.
Neutralized from beyond the arc (9-of-29), that didn’t stop Golden State from finding offensive success, as they shot 51.2 percent from the field and assisted on 30 of their 42 field goals.
From the opening tip, the Blazers showed a much improved version of themselves from a intensity and execution standpoint that we hadn’t witnessed in Game 1, with CJ McCollum having the scoring touch early. Defensively, Portland attacked the screen game of the Warriors aggressively, and despite Stephen Curry ending up with 19 first-half points, Golden State was chased off the 3-point line and went a poultry 3-for-13 from 3 in the half.
After being up by just two after one, it was all Blazers in the second period. McCollum, a hot shooting half from downtown and rugged defense keyed a quarter in which the underdog Blazers thoroughly outplayed Golden State, outscoring them 34-21 in the period.
Damian Lillard, distributing the ball and playing well defensively,1 made up for a scoreless first game quarter by powering Portland late in the first-half, as he got hot from downtown, hitting three 3-pointers over the final 3 minutes, 50 seconds of the second quarter as the Trail Blazers took a impressive 65-50 lead into the half.
Not willing to concede the game to the visitors, the Golden State Warriors showed their championship gear in the third quarter defensively, shutting down Portland completely, and on offense, Klay Thompson sparked Golden State on a 13-0 run that shook Oracle Arena.
Thompson scored 13 points in the third quarter, and in a hellacious Warriors onslaught, Golden State moved ahead of a staggered and stunned Portland team by as many as five, but the score would be knotted at 89-89 to end the period.
In a battle of wills in the fourth quarter, it was Portland in control throughout with Damian Lillard and the surprising contributions of Meyers Leonard putting Portland ahead by eight points on two occasions. Golden State, once again summoning the energy, effort and tenacity to overtake a tough-minded Blazers team, dominated down the stretch.
With Draymond Green running the show with his passing ability and leading the charge on defense, Golden State ended the game on a 14-3 run over the final 4:16 of the fourth quarter. Andre Iguodala, the ageless veteran for the Warriors, sealed the game for Golden State by collecting a steal on Damian Lillard in the final seconds of the game with the Warriors up by three points
There’s no need to sugarcoat it, the third quarter disaster that ensued for Portland Blazers committed six turnovers, settled for poor shot attempts, lost containment on the Warriors from downtown and gave up countless second chance opportunities that further continued the Warriors furious third quarter rally.
But in reality, it’ll be their many failed chances and defensive breakdowns over the final four minutes of the game that stings the Blazers to their core. No, few will remember Portland being firmly in control of this game to begin the third and with a eight-point lead late in the game because of Golden State’s continued greatness, but there’s no running away from what is now a 0-2 series deficit.
Damian Lillard (23 points) and CJ McCollum (22 points) both had their moments, but neither player was able to save the Blazers in the moment of truth.
The Golden State Warriors looked vulnerable in a disoriented and poor first-half, but as Game 2 showed, breakable is one thing they’re not. The Warriors flashed their championship mantra in making what appeared to be a unfortunate setback forthcoming to allow this series to be tied at 1-1 into a rollercoaster from hell for the Blazers, who all but puked all over themselves when it was all said and done.
Steve Kerr’s team weathered the flurry of adjustments made by Portland from Game 1, and they did it with their effort on defense. Never mentioned enough, Kevon Looney has been a difference maker in DeMarcus Cousins’ absence, and to an extent, Kevin Durant’s absence.
Looney’s versatility and ability to come out on the perimeter to contest shots, help in trap situations, finish at the rim and collect offensive rebounds has given the Warriors a much-needed lift.
The series won’t get any easier for the short-handed Warriors as they make the trip to the Pacific for Games 3 and 4, but the opportunity to accomplish what they couldn’t against Houston in the last series, which is win one of the two games to take complete control, should bring the best out of Golden State.
Game 3 is on Saturday night (9 p.m./ET).