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.

[RELATED: Warriors' wall of defense leaves Blazers stars in a fog]

"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.

Why Mychal Thompson thinks Steph Curry will make 500 3-pointers this year

Why Mychal Thompson thinks Steph Curry will make 500 3-pointers this year

The Warriors' roster turnover this summer has been well-documented, but Mychal Thompson things it will bring out the best in Steph Curry next season.

Curry will have to adjust to life without Kevin Durant next season, after the star signed with the Brooklyn Nets in free agency. The two-time MVP also will miss Klay Thompson -- Mychal's son -- for much of the campaign as the Splash Brother recovers from a torn ACL. Because of that, the elder Thompson thinks Curry has the potential for a record-breaking season in 2019-20.

"Now, they're not going to be as good as they were last year -- and by the way, I predict Steph is going to have 500 3s this year without having to share the ball that much back in the backcourt with Klay," Mychal said Friday on SiriusXM NBA Radio. "So he's going to come back to his MVP form we saw two years ago."

Curry set the NBA's single-season record with 402 made 3-pointers en route to the first unanimous MVP in league history in 2015-16. He did so leading an historic Warriors team that went 73-9, and Klay finished second on Golden State that season with 276 made 3-pointers. 

Klay made 241 -- and attempted 599 -- triples last year, while Curry made 354 and attempted 810. Assuming Thompson returns after the All-Star break, there could be enough touches for Curry to shatter his own record. However, summer acquisition D'Angelo Russell made just seven fewer 3-pointers than Thompson last season. He probably will take fewer shots as the No. 2 option behind Curry to start the season, but Russell's presence probably lowers Curry's record-setting ceiling. 

[RELATED: Steph comments on learning about KD's decision on plane]

Curry unquestionably will have to carry a bigger load for as long as Klay's out next season. But when his son returns, Mychal thinks the Warriors will find themselves on the same level as other Western Conference contenders. 

"[Draymond Green] is motivated to have a great year because his contract year is coming up," the elder Thompson continued.  "So I think [Curry and Green] -- and with the addition of D'Angelo Russell and the other role players that they've signed -- I think they'll be right in the mix. Somewhere between a five [or] six seed until Klay comes back 100 percent, and then they'll be ready to make their move." 

Steph Curry reveals wild prank Warriors vet played on him as rookie

Steph Curry reveals wild prank Warriors vet played on him as rookie

Hazing happens in all walks of life, including the NBA.

Before Steph Curry became a two-time NBA MVP and three-time NBA champion, he was a rookie.

While in Lake Tahoe for the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament last week, he revealed the following story to Chris Simms of NBC Sports on "Unbuttoned":

"I had a vet when I was a rookie -- I had my phone, mind you I'm dating my now wife at the time and I'm going on a road trip so I need my phone obviously -- we had finished practice and we were headed to the airport, and he knew where my phone was.

"He knew I always put it in this little pocket in my backpack. So after practice, I go get in the shower and put my phone in there. I'm kind of late so I'm hustling. He knows after I get out the shower I'm probably not gonna grab my phone.

"Take my phone, locks it in his locker. I get all the way to the airport and realize I don't have my phone. I get off the plane in Oklahoma City, not only did he make me leave my phone at home so I had to go to the store to get another one, he sent me on basically a two-hour errand run to go get video games and snacks.

"This is before Uber or Lyft so I'm in the yellow cab and paying for everything. That's just a headache."

Who was the veteran -- Anthony Tolliver, Corey Maggette, Ronny Turiaf, Mikki Moore or Vladimir Radmanovic? Perhaps it was Devean George?

Unfortunately, Curry did not disclose that information.

We also don't know if it was the Dubs' first or second game in Oklahoma City that season.

[RELATEDCurry comments on finding out about KD's decision on plane]

On Dec. 7, Curry registered 22 points, two assists, four steals and five turnovers in a 104-88 loss (Kevin Durant recorded 28 points, nine rebounds, four assists, three steals and six turnovers).

On Jan. 31, Curry contributed 14 points, five assists and five turnovers in a 112-104 loss (KD racked up 45 points and 11 rebounds).

That likely will remain a mystery, but what we do know is that NBA stars are just like us - pranks and all.

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