Warriors

Instant Replay: Warriors battle Blazers, take commanding 3-0 series lead

Instant Replay: Warriors battle Blazers, take commanding 3-0 series lead

BOX SCORE

PORTLAND -- Head coach Steve Kerr didn’t show and All-Star forward Kevin Durant didn’t play.

Neither did Shaun Livingston or Matt Barnes.

No matter. Trailing by as much as 17 before a surging Trail Blazers team and a thunderous sellout crowd at Moda Center, the Warriors found their way to a 119-113 victory in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series Saturday night.

The Warriors can close out the series with a win in Game 4 here on Monday night.

With assistant coach Mike Brown serving as acting head coach in the absence of an ill Kerr, five Warriors scored in double figures, led by Stephen Curry’s 34 points. Klay Thompson put in 24, Andre Iguodala 16, JaVale McGee 14 and Pat McCaw 11.

The Warriors overcame a 16-point third-quarter deficit and a 52-42 rebounding disadvantage with a single, searing stretch of defense in the third quarter, when they limited Portland to 30.4-percent shooting.

Guards CJ McCollum, who totaled 32 points, and Damian Lillard, who posted 31, led the Trail Blazers.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

As crucial to the comeback as was the offensive reemergence of Curry and Thompson, nobody did more good things over different portions of the game than did McGee.

McGee’s line: 14 points (6-of-8 shooting from the field, 2-of-2 from the line), four rebounds and one steal. He played 16 minutes and finished a game-high plus-24.

TURNING POINT

Trailing 82-66 after a Lillard finger roll with 6:20 left in the third quarter, the Warriors rumbled back with a 19-1 run, taking an 85-83 lead when McGee slammed through a lob with 2:01 left in the quarter.

The Warriors during that stretch held Portland to 0-of-8 shooting, with three turnovers.

INJURY UPDATE

Warriors: F Matt Barnes (R foot/ankle bone bruise), F Kevin Durant (L calf strain) and G Shaun Livingston (R index finger sprain and hand contusion) were listed as questionable and downgraded to out. F Kevon Looney (L hip strain) is listed as out.

Blazers: G Allen Crabbe (L foot soreness) and G CJ McCollum (R ankle sprain) were listed as probable and upgraded to available. C Jusuf Nurkic (L leg fracture) was listed as doubtful and upgraded to available. C Ed Davis (L shoulder surgery) and C Festus Ezeli (L knee surgery) were listed as out.

WHAT’S NEXT

The teams reconvene Monday night at Moda Center for Game 4. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Report: Kevin Durant has shown no interest in wanting Warriors to trade him

Report: Kevin Durant has shown no interest in wanting Warriors to trade him

Programming note: Watch Saturday night's Warriors-Mavs game streaming live at 5:30 p.m. PT on the MyTeams app.

Kevin Durant is still sorting through everything that happened on Monday night in Los Angeles. He was taken aback by the things Draymond Green said to him and the emotions are still raw.

But that doesn't mean the two-time Finals MVP is looking for a way out of Golden State right now.

[LISTEN: Warriors Outsiders Podcast -- Steph Curry's absence massive; Draymond's joke]

As Sam Amick of The Athletic reported late Thursday night:

According to a source close to Durant, he has shown no interest in wanting to be traded and remains focused on the championship chance that lies before them.

“We’ve got a three-peat upon us,” the source said.

And if the Warriors do win a third straight championship in June? Well, nobody knows what will happen after that. One school of thought would say: "How could Durant pass on the opportunity to win four straight?" On the other hand, Durant may simply want to move on to something else. Everything is completely up in the air. 

[RELATEDDraymond Green's recruitment of Kevin Durant will contain one message]

But the one thing that remains certain is Draymond's oozing confidence. After shootaround on Thursday, he basically challenged the rest of the NBA to beat the Warriors. And after the loss to Houston, he guaranteed the Warriors would still win the championship.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Ask Kerith Mailbag: Warriors' biggest weakness; last word on Pat McCaw

askkerith_still.jpg
NBC Sports Bay Area

Ask Kerith Mailbag: Warriors' biggest weakness; last word on Pat McCaw

Editor’s note: Kerith Burke, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors reporter, will take you inside the two-time defending NBA champions as only she can each Friday with the Ask Kerith Mailbag. Send her a question on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #askkerith

Tip-off

After the Warriors announced Draymond Green’s one-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team, a few quotes stood out to me.

Bob Myers got a question about whether Kevin Durant’s free agency has anything to do with the tension. Myers responded: “It’s hard to win a championship. You can’t allow anything else in the locker room, in the narrative.”

After Tuesday’s game against the Hawks, Klay Thompson spelled out how the Warriors will keep going after tension between Draymond and KD, indicating what could heal things: “A win on Thursday, and a win on Saturday and Sunday. That’s called a win streak. (The incident) will not matter, and this will be in the past like a pony tail.”

Winning is the spackle over cracks. Winning heals a lot of things, at least on a professional level. That’s the theme emerging from the team. Draymond and KD are competitors who want to win. That will be the bond that carries them forward, even if it’s unclear if forward means forgiving and forgetting.

When KD spoke after the Hawks game, he got a question about whether this tension reaching an eruption point can make the team stronger. KD replied, “We’ll see.”

The emotion bundled in those two words — We’ll see — could impact the rest of the season. Mature teams sort things out, and we have every indication this is a mature team.

When it comes to strength, Draymond made a declaration at Thursday’s shootaround: “If you think you saw something before, good luck with us now. We’re not going to crumble off of an argument.”

Game On!

@pdparticle What do the Warriors see as their weakness this season?

I had a long answer written out in the first draft of this mailbag that delved into complacency and injuries. Those still are important factors. But the long answer got the control-alt-delete treatment once Draymond’s suspension came.

The No. 1 thing that can defeat the Warriors this season is the Warriors. If locker room strife festers, it can be poison. Poison can break down bonds, make guys suspicious of other guys’ motives and shift the focus away from team. The team has a huge goal this season to three-peat. When players describe how hard it is to win championships, believe them. It takes everyone, playing at their peak abilities, together.

Marcus Thompson of The Athletic wrote the deepest story on the nature of the fracture between Draymond and KD. Marcus learned that Klay’s voice rang out strongly to help reset the focus. Here’s how Marcus closed his story:

“We all want to win,” Thompson said in the locker room after the (Clippers) game, per accounts of the people in the room. “That’s all this is about. We all want to win. I think we’re the only team that can beat us. Nobody else can beat us. So let’s go kick ass.”

@LisaDimmick1 What is REALLY going on with Pat McCaw?
Richard Manso, via Facebook: Any update on McCaw?
@rlangeles If Pcaw returns who do you think will be moved to make space? #askKerith

No offense to these question-askers, because they’re asking the most common mailbag question for weeks now, but the Pat McCaw topic feels like a bygone.

To sum it up quickly, the Warriors own Pat’s rights, so any hope he has of landing with another team goes through the Warriors. I haven’t heard any updates on the impasse between Pat and the team. I also checked with Warriors Insider Monte Poole. He’s not detecting any movement either, and it seems this situation is near dead.

When I saw these Pat McCaw questions, I thought of something random: a love poem from Pablo Neruda about heartbreak and letting go. It’s called Poema XX, and you can read the English version here.

Why the heck am I bringing this up? Because this poem captures a range of emotions, like loving someone, wondering where they are now and reflecting about how things ended. The poem asks, What does it matter that my love could not keep her.

The poem also contains the lines, Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer/ and these the last verses that I write for her.

I don’t know why Pat and the Warriors broke up. But may these be the last words I write for him in the mailbag.

@__OhMyLanta Nov 11 How is Steph’s new bodyguard? #askkerith

He’s great! His name is Dwight Pruitt, and he retired as a lieutenant from the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department in 2011.

I told him there was a mailbag question about him, and the people want to know who he is. I asked what his hobbies are. He said, “basketball!”

Turns out Pruitt used to be an assistant high school basketball coach. In the 2008 Division III state basketball championships, Pruitt’s school, Sac High, was defeated by Klay Thompson’s school, Santa Margarita.

Pruitt was on the Minnesota Timberwolves’ security team last season. He’s a friend of Steph’s old security guy, Ralph Walker. When Walker retired in the offseason, Pruitt applied for the job.

High Five

This week’s high five goes out to the guy who wondered if I could dunk on Jim Barnett. Look, I’m tall, and I have a decent vertical, but I cannot dunk.

Jim and I have had some long chats on the team buses as we go from airport to airport. He has a heart of gold, but I think you already knew that.

Follow Kerith on Twitter @KerithBurke and on Instagram @warriorskerith, and, of course, watch her on NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors coverage all season.