Warriors again prove no deficit is too big with Game 3 rally vs. Blazers

Warriors again prove no deficit is too big with Game 3 rally vs. Blazers

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Throughout their NBA championship runs, the Warriors have displayed the propensity for the dramatic. As of late, they've made a habit of erasing first-half deficits with impressive second-half runs.

Last week, without star forward Kevin Durant in the lineup because of injury, the back-to-back defending champs shaved a seven-point deficit to eliminate the Houston Rockets from the playoffs behind a second-half scoring binge from Stephen Curry. Two days ago, Draymond Green willed Golden State out of an eight-point hole in the final minutes to beat the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals.

The Warriors completed the hat trick in Saturday's 110-99 win over the Blazers, using the third quarter to undo a dreadful first half in Game 3, and proving again that even if they're playing at their worst, they can summon enough magic to win under the most curious circumstances.

"There's no panic," Curry said after his 36-point, six-rebound performance at Moda Center. "In the locker room, people got composure."

While Curry said there was no alarm among his Warriors, perhaps there should have been. Through the first 24 minutes of Saturday's game, Blazers forward Meyers Leonard -- who made his first start of the playoffs -- scored 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field, looking like the best player on the floor. Meanwhile, Curry and Klay Thompson combined to shoot 37 percent, as the Blazers took a 66-53 lead into halftime despite Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum combining to miss 15 of 20 shot attempts.

After Portland's lead ballooned to 14 in the third quarter, the Warriors responded with a 21-6 run, then outscored their foes to end the game.

Saturday's run was the latest iteration of Golden State's potency in the face of a deficit. The style of the Warriors' monster runs has revolutionized the game. Since Steve Kerr was hired as coach in 2014, Golden State has been among the top five in the NBA in terms of 3-point percentage and pace. In Game 3, the Warriors erased the Blazers' lead in 10 minutes and 6 seconds, then took a three-point lead into the fourth quarter.

"It's such a long game," Kerr said. "There's time for so many swings in the game itself, and especially these days, with so many 3-point shots taken. A lot of possessions. Our guys know that, they've been through it, so when we were down, we knew we could get back into it."

Added Green, who dropped a triple-double: "We went into the half down 13 after I thought they had played an amazing half, and we said, 'Heck, that's a two-minute stretch if we lock in.' I just wanted to try to get a little momentum going into the second half, and we were able to do that."

Golden State has made a habit of such runs. Last week, after facing a seven-point deficit in the fourth quarter of Game 6 against Houston, Curry helped the Warriors outscore the Rockets 36-26 to close the game and the series. Six days later, with the Warriors down eight with 4:23 to go in Game 2 against the Blazers, Green contributed to the Warriors' final 16 points, finishing off Golden State's fourth consecutive playoff win.

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"They have a lot of experience," Kerr said. "We've played in a lot of big games. We've been down in many games by a long, big margin. Our guys know that we have an excellent defensive team and we've got some explosive scorers, and so 13 points can be two or three in minutes. That's how we look at it."

For nearly five years, the Warriors have lived life on the edge, and in the pursuit of a three-peat, they'll take a win, no matter how it's earned.

Heat guard Tyler Herro studies Warriors' Klay Thompson to improve shot

Heat guard Tyler Herro studies Warriors' Klay Thompson to improve shot

Klay Thompson's shot is that of near perfection. Steph Curry might be regarded as the greatest shooter in NBA history, but his fellow Splash Brother's form is picturesque. 

Miami Heat rookie Tyler Herro is taking note, too. The shooting guard has taken advantage of his time away from the court before the NBA's restart by watching film on Thompson and other greats.

"Klay Thompson, Ray Allen, CJ McCollum, Steve Nash and Bradley Beal are the guys that’s I’ve watched, just picking different things from each player," Herro recently told reporters, via the South Florida Sun Sentinel's Ira Winderman. 

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Herro, 20, is averaging 12.9 points per game for the Heat while shooting an impressive 39.1 percent from 3-point range. As a rookie, Thompson shot 41.4 percent from deep and has a career 41.9 shooting percentage from beyond the arc. They don't make many like Klay. 

Miami's young sharpshooter is studying one specific part of Thompson's game, too.

"You know, Klay and Ray, they do the catch-and-shoot very well," Herro said. "So that's the thing that I pay attention to when I'm watching them. But every player that I watch, or the coaches have me watch, I can dissect something new or something different from their game to try to add it to mine."

[RELATED: Steph has funny prediction for Warriors-Cavs bubble rematch]

Herro and the Heat resume their season Aug. 1 against the Denver Nuggets in Orlando. In just his first season, he has helped the Heat become a contender as a feared outside shooter and will play a big role once the NBA returns. 

Rested, healthy and full of more knowledge from hours watching film, we'll soon be able to see what exactly Herro picked up from Thompson other great shooters.

Eight things Warriors must do to return to NBA championship contention

Eight things Warriors must do to return to NBA championship contention

Until the current NBA season is completed -- if it ever is -- the Warriors will remain the reigning Western Conference champions. Yes, the 15-50 Golden State Warriors.

Obviously, they didn't come anywhere near their recent level of success this season, ending their season with the worst record in the league after making five straight NBA Finals. That said, the Warriors' roster isn't anywhere near the worst in the NBA. Not even close.

Though it would seem like quite a bounce-back, a Golden State resurgence next season isn't out of the question. In fact, for many reasons, you can bank on it. But resurgence isn't what the Warriors are aiming for. They don't simply want to climb out of the cellar.

They want to win championships.

Though they have many of the key ingredients already in place, some vital developments will have to occur in order for the Warriors to get back to title contention. Some will be more easily accomplished than others, and not all of them are in Golden State's control. But if the Warriors do these eight things, they'll give themselves a chance to lift the Larry O'Brien Trophy once again.