Warriors

Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum asked about Blazers' Steph Curry defense

Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum asked about Blazers' Steph Curry defense

From a Portland Trail Blazers perspective, the main talking point to come out of their Western Conference finals Game 1 loss to the Warriors was their defense.

In particular, their defense on some guy named Steph Curry.

When the Warriors ran a pick-and-roll involving Curry on Tuesday, Blazers center Enes Kanter tended to sag off Curry, giving the Warriors' sharpshooter plenty of room to fire away.

The strategy backfired to the tune of 36 points from Curry.

A day later, NBC Sports Northwest's Dwight Jaynes decided to see if Blazers stars Damian Lillard would take the bait with this question:

"How would you like to have a game where the other team defended you in the pick-and-roll the way you guys defended Steph in the pick-and-roll last night?"

McCollum refused to bite.

"You're a funny man," McCollum said. "I can't answer that."

"You're not going to bite on that?" Jaynes followed up.

"No," McCollum said.

Lillard, on the other hand, answered the question ... sort of.

“Hey man, we could have done a much better job," Lillard said. "I think people need to look at how I’m being defended. I can’t even get a shot up sometimes. Maybe just look at that. I can’t get a shot up.”

Interesting strategy by Dame, turning the focus onto him.

[RELATED: Delightful dilemma of Curry parents]

Earlier Tuesday, Blazers coach Terry Stotts apologized to The Athletic's Anthony Slater for the way he responded to a question about the Blazers' defensive gameplan against Curry.

It seems the entire Blazers team is getting defensive about their defensive strategy.

Why Warriors should be happy Raptors beat Bucks in Game 3 of East finals

Why Warriors should be happy Raptors beat Bucks in Game 3 of East finals

Publicly, the Warriors have no rooting interest in the Eastern Conference. Why would they?

They're one win away from reaching their fifth straight NBA Finals and in the midst of one of the greatest sports dynasties of all time. 

What they should want, however, is a long series between the Bucks and the Raptors. That's exactly why Golden State should be happy Toronto beat Milwaukee 118-112 in double overtime in Game 3 of the best-of-seven series on Sunday. 

After the Bucks dominated the Raptors in the first two games of the series by a combined 30 points in Milwaukee, Toronto held them off north of the border. This series is guaranteed to go at least five games now. Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo played 45 minutes before fouling out and the Raptors were led by Kawhi Leonard's 36 points over 52 minutes. 

A longer series and more minutes played by the two superstars is a win-win for the Warriors. 

Despite winning five straight games and being ahead three-games-to-none over the Blazers in the Western Conference finals, the Warriors are without two of their top players. Forward Kevin Durant is rehabbing a strained right calf and center DeMarcus Cousins is on his way back from a torn left quad. 

Durant didn't travel with the team to Portland and will be out for Game 4 on Monday night. Cousins, however, is said to be closer than KD in making a return to the Dubs

[RELATED: Steph believes Warriors won't be slowed by Iggy's injury]

Even without the two stars, the Warriors have been on a roll. But players, and even one mother, know how important Durant and Cousins are in the team's attempt to three-peat.

The NBA Finals don't begin until May 30. The Warriors can have over a week to rest and get healthy if they sweep the Blazers. At the same time, their opponent could be significantly less rested, especially if the Raptors keep winning.

Draymond Green's mom agrees Warriors need Kevin Durant for NBA Finals

Draymond Green's mom agrees Warriors need Kevin Durant for NBA Finals

The Warriors are rolling right now. Whether it's the Splash Brothers heating up from deep, or Draymond Green doing it, the Blazers have had no answers for them in the Western Conference finals. 

And they're doing it all without Kevin Durant, the back-to-back NBA Finals MVP. 

Without Durant, the Warriors are looking like the squad that won a ring and set a NBA record with 73 regular-season wins without him. None of that matters, though. When you can have one of the greatest to ever play the game on your team, you welcome him with wide open arms. 

Draymond Green's mother, Mary Babers-Green, agrees. 

Like mother, like son. 

With Durant rehabbing a strained right calf in the Warriors' last four games, all wins, Draymond has averaged 14 points, 10.8 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game. Don't tell him the Warriors are better without KD, though. 

“That’s idiotic,” Green said to The Athletic's Tim Kawakami Thursday after the Warriors' 114-111 win in Game 2 over the Blazers. “It’s very idiotic. I don’t think there’s one person in this locker room, one person in this organization that thinks that. And I know for damn sure that any idiot that does possibly (say) it don’t believe it.”

[RELATED: How incident with KD helped Draymond change his demeanor]

Durant will miss Game 4 on Monday. A Warriors win would give them a sweep and well over a week of rest before the NBA Finals begin on May 30.