Warriors

Warriors takeaways: What we learned from 103-96 loss to Magic

Warriors takeaways: What we learned from 103-96 loss to Magic

BOX SCORE

The Warriors were without Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala on Thursday, and their absences were felt in the first half – and again in the fourth quarter.

After roaring back from an 11-point deficit to take a lead in the third quarter, the Warriors faded badly in the fourth and came away with a 103-96 loss to the Magic at Amway Center in Orlando.

Stephen Curry scored 33 points, while DeMarcus Cousins and Klay Thompson each put in 21, as the Warriors (43-19) lost to Orlando for the first time since December 2012.

Here are three takeaways from the Warriors’ second consecutive loss and the third in four games:

Third-quarter magic not enough

The Warriors found their rhythm in the third quarter, and they did it the old-fashioned way: with defense.

By outscoring the Magic 25-7 in a little more than nine minutes, the Warriors wiped out an eight-point halftime deficit to take a 76-66 lead, forcing Orlando to call a timeout with 2:41 left in the third quarter.

The Warriors did plenty of fabulous shooting, but they turned up the defense to level that they at times appeared to have seven players.

The Magic were held to 5-of-23 shooting (21.7 percent) in the quarter, during which they were outscored 30-11. The Warriors also forced four turnovers, all in the first six minutes of the quarter.

The Warriors made a habit of third-quarter blitzes two seasons ago. They summoned it on this night to get back into a game that was slipping away.

They summoned so hard that, apparently, they had nothing left in the fourth, when they were outscored 33-15.

Not enough ‘O’

With Durant out, it was incumbent on the Warriors’ offensive stars to put up numbers. Curry, Cousins and Thompson tried but the load was too heavy especially for the deep shooters.

It also was too heavy for the Warriors, in general.

Curry scored 33 points but did it on 12-of-33 shooting, including 5-of-17 from beyond the arc. Thompson’s 21 points came on 9-of-23 shooting, including 3-of-12 from deep.

Cousins was plenty efficient with his scoring, going 8-of-16 from the field but missing all four of his 3-point attempts.

The Warriors shot 40.2 percent from the field and only 22.5 percent (9-of-40) from deep. Jordan Bell, shooting 3-of-3 from the field, was the only Warriors to shoot better than 50 percent.

It was enough to stay in the game, and even get a lead, but they faded late in their fifth game in eight days.

Same song, different city

It’s becoming a habit. The Warriors come out for the opening tip and within minutes find themselves scrambling to stay in the game.

They trailed throughout the first half, going down 11 (23-12) a little more than eight minutes in, cutting the deficit to five in less than a minute – only be trail by 10 (41-31) midway through the second quarter.

For the fifth time in six games, the Warriors trudged into the locker room at halftime trailing.

This is in stark contrast to their wonderful January, when they held halftime leads in 12 of 13 games and went 11-2 for the month.

The Warriors are tired of hearing about it, tired of reading about it, tired of the numbers. They have yet to reverse the trend.

Warriors-Blazers Game 4 watch guide: Lineups, injuries and player usage

draymondblazersgame3ap.jpg
AP

Warriors-Blazers Game 4 watch guide: Lineups, injuries and player usage

PORTLAND – The aches and bruises of 97 NBA games has the Warriors longing for a few days of rest and recovery. A win Monday night would grant them more than a week.

That’s the goal for the Warriors as they approach Game 4 of the Western Conference finals against the Trail Blazers. They have a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, and nothing would feel better than a sweep.

Pregame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 4:30 with Warriors Outsiders, followed by Sports Net Central at 5, with tipoff of the ESPN telecast from. Moda Center scheduled for 6:10.

The Warriors followed the 82-game regular season with 15 postseason battles – six games against the Clippers, six against the Rockets, three against the Blazers – and there are signs of wear and tear. DeMarcus Cousins and Kevin Durant are injured, and Andre Iguodala limped into the locker room in the third quarter of Game 3 on Saturday.

“It’s very motivating for us, to try and sweep the series and have that time off,” Draymond Green said. “We’re a little banged up. Nine days off would be great for us. It would allow Andre time to heal. Shaun (Livingston) is old. It would give him a week off. But also, it would allow the possibility of Kevin and DeMarcus to get healthy and come back as well.

“It’s very important for us to come out (Monday) with the right mindset. We didn’t do that against the Clippers. We extended the series, and all of a sudden Klay (Thompson) and Steph (Curry) were going into the Houston series questionable because of ankle injuries they suffered in a series that should have been over.”

 

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Warriors F – Andre iguodala or Alfonzo McKinnie G – Draymond Green C – Andrew Bogut or Damian Jones G – Klay Thompson G – Stephen Curry

Blazers F – Al-Farouq Aminu F – Maurice Harkless C – Meyers Leonard G – CJ McCollum G – Damian Lillard

 

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: F Andre Iguodala (L calf tightness) is listed as questionable. C DeMarcus Cousins (L quadriceps tear) and F Kevin Durant (R calf strain) are listed as out.

Blazers: C Jusuf Nurkic (L leg fracture) is listed as out.

 

PROJECTED ROTATION

Warriors: If Iguodala sits, expect McKinnie to start at SF. He was solid in Game 3, hitting a couple shots, grabbing nine rebounds and posting a plus-24 over 21 minutes. Thompson also is capable of putting in time at SF, which he normally does when playing alongside reserves Quinn Cook and Livingston . . . Damian Jones was a surprise starter in C in Game 3. Activated May 14 after missing five months with an injury, he was whistled for three fouls in the first three minutes and spent the rest of the game on the bench. Coach Steve Kerr could try that again, but it seems unlikely. That leaves Kevon Looney as possible starters, and Kerr prefers to have Looney coming off the bench . . . The 3-point barrage that seemed inevitable after Game 1 has not materialized. Since going 17-of-33 in Game 1, they are 17-of-55. Curry is 10-of-30, Thompson 5-of—13. Though Portland has patched its defense, the Warriors also have missed numerous open looks from deep.

Blazers: Lillard is playing through a “separated rib” sustained in Game 2 and clearly is hampered. He’s shooting 32.6 percent from the field and has committed 14 turnovers. If he can’t play at All-Star level, it’s tough for Portland to succeed . . . The Blazers have faded in the second half of all three games, averaging 42.7 points. Part of the struggle can be attributed to the Warriors hiking their intensity, but it’s also apparent the team is affected by the grueling seven-game series against the Nuggets in the previous round . . . With the Warriors rightfully placing most of their defensive focus on Lillard and McCollum, it has created opportunities for others. It paid off in Game 3, as Leonard, making his first start this postseason, scored 16 points. That’s a tradeoff the Warriors will take every time, as they believe the path to victory is through containing the guards, either of which could ring up 40 points . . . Coach Terry Stotts made liberal use of a three-guard lineup, with Seth Curry joining Lillard and McCollum. Why? Because three guards comfortable launching from deep, as is Leonard, it greatly aids floor spacing. Expect to see plenty in Game 4.

Officials: Mike Callahan (crew chief), Jason Phillips, Kevin Scott. Alternate: Sean Wright.

Warriors vs. Blazers live stream: Watch NBA playoffs Game 4 live online

Warriors vs. Blazers live stream: Watch NBA playoffs Game 4 live online

Through three games of the Western Conference finals, the Warriors have had little problem with the Portland Trail Blazers.

With the Moda Center crowd cranked up to 11 on Saturday, the Blazers roared out to an 18-point lead in the first half. But as was the story in Game 2, the Warriors erased the lead in the third quarter and went on to win 110-99, grabbing a three-games-to-none series advantage in the process.

Now the Warriors have a chance to break out the brooms Monday night in Game 4 and earn some much-needed rest before their fifth straight NBA Finals appearance.

Golden State will once again be without Kevin Durant, and could be without Andre Iguodala who is questionable with soreness in his Achilles region.

Should the Warriors complete the sweep, they will be off for 10 days -- The Finals don't begin until May 30. 

Here's how you can watch Warriors-Blazers Game 4 on television, as well as NBC Sports Bay Area's "SNC: Warriors Playoff Central" pregame and postgame coverage live on NBC Sports Bay Area and the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.

When: 6 p.m. PT on Monday, May 20, on ESPN (pregame show starts on NBC Sports Bay Area at 5 p.m.)
Pregame/postgame show live stream: MyTeams by NBC Sports app
Game live stream: WatchESPN