NBA Gameday: In Portland, Warriors look to shake Game 3 blues

NBA Gameday: In Portland, Warriors look to shake Game 3 blues

Update (6:07 p.m.): After missing the first two games as he comes back from a leg fracture, center Jusuf Nurkic will start for the Blazers in Game 3, the team announced.


PORTLAND -- Having left the bright gold T-shirts that blanketed Oracle Arena, the Warriors on Saturday will wade into a sea of red and a sprinkling of white at Moda Center in support of the Trail Blazers.

The Warriors, up 2-0, will try to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven first playoff series with Portland.

Each team is coping with a notable injury. Kevin Durant is listed as questionable for the Warriors, while Portland center Jusuf Nurkic, who missed the first two games of the series, was upgraded to doubtful for Game 3.

Warriors by 6

Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson vs. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum: Everything with the Blazers starts -- and often ends -- with their explosive guards. Lillard and McCollum combined for 75 points in Game 1, but were limited to a total of 23 in Game 2. On their homecourt, seeking their first win of the series, Portland’s guards know this is their best chance to make a statement. Curry and Thompson want to make a statement of their own. They combined for 35 points in Game -- but were only 12-of-35 from the field.

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) are all out. F Kevon Looney (L hip strain) is also listed as out.

Blazers: G Allen Crabbe (L foot soreness) and G CJ McCollum (R ankle sprain) are listed as probable. C Jusuf Nurkic (L leg fracture) will play after missing the first two games. C Ed Davis (L shoulder surgery) and C Festus Ezeli (L knee surgery) are listed as out.

The Warriors own a 2-0 lead in the series and swept four games in the regular seasons. They have won 12 of the last 13 games, including the 2016 postseason.

THE GAME 3 BLUES: The Warriors are 2-6 in Game 3s over the past two postseasons, 0-4 last spring and 2-2 during their championship run in 2015. All eight of those games have come on the road, six with the Warriors owning a 2-0 series lead. The coaching staff has pointed this out, with emphasis.

THE SUPPORTING CAST: Every Blazer not named Lillard or McCollum is role player, and role players tend to perform better at home, as Draymond Green pointed out Friday. That certainly seems true of Crabbe and Aminu. If they wake up after back-to-back games of limited effectiveness, Portland will give itself a chance.

THE PAINT GAME: Though the Blazers were solid inside in Game 1, the Warriors took control in Game 2. The center trio of JaVale McGee, Zaza Pachulia and David West played a combined 44 minutes and submitted 33 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks. They took advantage of Portland not having a healthy natural center.


For Kevin Durant, it's 'an honor' to take the court with Steph Curry

For Kevin Durant, it's 'an honor' to take the court with Steph Curry

Programming note: Watch Wednesday's Warriors-Jazz game streaming live at 6 p.m. PT on the MyTeams app.

Some milestones were hit on Monday night at Oracle Arena.

Steph Curry joined the "15,000 career points club" and Kevin Durant passed Larry Bird for 33rd on the NBA's all-time scoring list. After the win over Memphis, Durant was asked what it's like to take the floor with the two-time MVP on a nightly basis.

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"It's more exciting just to see him come to work every day and work on his game," the reigning two-time Finals MVP told reporters. "I don't want to take what he does on the court for granted, but I'm just a sucker for just watching guys while they work -- when the lights are lower than usual.

"And he's one of those guys that puts in the work every single day and produces. And you see it out on the floor."

Curry is currently averaging 28.8 points per game this season. If he stays at his current scoring pace for every game the rest of the way, he will end the year with 16,479 points. If he then averages 28.4 points per game over the next four seasons (assuming he averages 75 appearances), he would be at 24,999 points. There are currently 22 members of the 25,000 points fraternity.

For Durant -- he is also averaging 28.8 points per game and if that pace continues for all 82 games, he would end the campaign with 24,168 career points -- which would put him at No. 26 all-time.

To become just the 8th NBA player to ever hit 30,000 points, Durant would need to average "only" 26 points per game (assuming he averages 75 appearances) over the subsequent three seasons. He would then enter the 2022-23 season having just turned 34 years old, and be in prime position to vault into the Top 3 before it's all said and done.

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But that converation is still years away. Back to the present where Durant is humbled to call Curry his teammate:

"Fifteen thousand is something that I'm sure he expected out of himself once he came into the league," Durant added. "But to actually accomplish it shows how hard he works; how much he's dedicated and how much he loves the game.

"That shines bright every single night he plays, so it's just an honor to take the court with him."

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

Warriors Under Review: Andre Iguodala's X-factor, Draymond Green's woes

Warriors Under Review: Andre Iguodala's X-factor, Draymond Green's woes

OAKLAND – There won’t be many, if any, more teams coming into Oracle Arena less equipped to battle the Warriors than the Grizzlies that took the floor Monday night.

They were heavy underdogs that morning and lost most any realistic chance of upsetting the defending champions when Mike Conley, the point guard and hub of the roster, was declared out of action a hour before tipoff.

So the Warriors took care of business without fanfare, coasting to a 110-93 win. Here are some positives and negatives taken from the game:


Iguodala’s shooting

Andre Iguodala’s tendency to move the ball – an overt attempt to set an example for his teammates – renders him reluctant to shoot. He took only three shots, all 3-pointers, making each one and finishing 10 points. That’s efficiency. He’s 7-of-12 from deep over his last five games and scored in double figures in the last two.

Iguodala’s scoring continues to be an X-factor, though not as much as in the past. When he’s able to keep defenses honest, creates space and sends a jolt of energy through his teammates.


Draymond’s shooting troubles

Draymond Green’s shooting woes continued in a graphic way. He was 1-of-8 from the floor, 0-of-1 from beyond the arc and missed badly on a couple shots in the paint. In four games since returning from the injury list, he’s shooting 29.2 percent from the field and 12.5 percent from deep. He is not shooting with confidence.

Because he does so many other things, scoring is last on the list of Green’s priorities. But he has never been this bad. If he can’t pose a threat, his teammates are going see more defensive traffic.


Defense on demand

After strolling through the first quarter with the intensity of a light scrimmage and still building an eight-point lead, the Warriors decided to put the game away in the season quarter. They brought the heat. With Green leading the pack, they held Memphis to three field goals while forcing four turnovers in the first eight minutes to go up by 19.

When the Warriors are aggressive on defense, most teams are at their mercy. These Grizzlies had no chance.


Bell looks lost

Jordan Bell, the most athletic “big man” on the roster, failed on two dunk attempts, one banging into the front of the rim and the other getting blocked. When he finally converted one late in the third quarter, there was a mock celebration. That’s how far he has fallen. He played 12 minutes and finished minus-1 – the only Warriors to play in both halves to land in the minus column.

With Damian Jones lost to injury, Bell has an opportunity. He has not been able to take advantage of it. He’s struggling in a time of need.


The milestones

Stephen Curry needed 10 points to reach the 15,000 for his career and got there on a transition 3 in the second quarter. He’s now at 15,010. Kevin Durant needed 9 points to pass Larry Bird and move into 33rd place on the all-time scoring list with 21,806. He achieved it with a free throw late in the first half. Klay Thompson needed 8 points to reach 11,000 and zoomed past it in the second quarter.

It has long been evident that the Warriors have three all-time great scorers on the roster. The numbers are heavy and they will keep coming.