No Kevin Durant, no worries. The Golden State Warriors are one win away from a fifth-straight NBA Finals series after outclassing the Portland Trail Blazers 110-99.
In the continued absence of injured superstar Durant, Draymond Green stepped up with his seventh career triple-double – 20 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists – as the Warriors rallied from 18 points down to go 3-0 up in the western conference finals in Portland on Saturday night.
Sharpshooter Steph Curry had 36 points for the Warriors and Klay Thompson added 19, but Green’s form was the big talking point for the NBA’s defending champions.
“It’s one of the best games I’ve ever seen Draymond play,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr gushed.
“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.”
The top-seeded Warriors, playing without Durant and star centre DeMarcus Cousins, will go for the series sweep 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.
For the second consecutive game, Golden State dominated the third quarter to get back in the game after trailing by double digits at halftime.
“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 defence.”
Thompson complemented Curry’s as Golden State’s All-Star backcourt outscored the Trail Blazers’ tandem of CJ McCollum (23) and Damian Lillard (19) 55-42 in a battle of premier guards.
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.
Our offense fell apart,” Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts lamented. “We missed some shots. Took some tough shots. Didn’t move the ball as well.
Australian centre Andrew Bogut played just three minutes for two rebounds for the Warriors.
Durant, the two-time reigning NBA Finals MVP remains out with a calf injury and won’t be re-examined until next week.