Warriors

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 110-99 Game 3 win over Blazers

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 110-99 Game 3 win over Blazers

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PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Warriors are one win away from reaching the NBA Finals for a fifth consecutive season.

With Stephen Curry and Draymond Green leading the charge Saturday night, they hung a 110-99 loss on the Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center to take a three games-to-none lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference finals.

The Warriors overcame an 18-point deficit by limiting the Blazers to 33 points on 30.8 percent shooting in the second half.

Here are three takeaways from Golden State's Game 3 win:

Draymond in overdrive

Green has been a force throughout the playoffs, and he was that in the extreme in this game.

Totaling 20 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists, he posted his third triple-double of the postseason -- with all three coming on the road. It was his seventh career playoff triple-double.

Green added four steals and one block, finishing plus-16 over 38 minutes.

Moreover, Green was the catalyst behind most everything the Warriors did well on either end. His energy was nonstop and contagious, with the Warriors doing their part to keep up.

When Green is playing like this, the Warriors can survive 8-of-20 shooting by Klay Thompson and a two-point night from Andre Iguodala.

Second unit falls, then rises

The Warriors have several problem areas they can’t seem to completely solve, and one of them is how they start the second and fourth quarters, with Curry (36 points on 11-of-26 shooting) and Green on the bench.

It’s hit and miss. On this night, it was both.

It was “miss” in the second quarter. The Warriors entered, down two (29-27), with Quinn Cook, Shaun Livingston, Klay Thompson, Jonas Jerebko and Jordan Bell taking the floor. After a quick bucket by Bell, the Blazers went on a 16-3 run, taking a 45-32 lead with 7:33 left in the quarter.

The double-digit deficit, as high as 18, remained until midway through the third quarter.

It was “hit” in the fourth quarter, the only change being the Warriors opened with Kevon Looney instead of Bell. That group inherited a three-point lead (82-79) and expanded it to six (90-84) before Curry and Green returned.

The unit did not cost the Warriors the game, but it’s a weakness particularly visible in Kevin Durant's absence.

Kerr’s risky move backfires

Warriors coach Steve Kerr had something of an epiphany after Game 2. He’d make a change to his starting lineup in Game 3, replacing Andrew Bogut with ... Damian Jones.

Oops.

Jones lasted a little more than three minutes, heading to the bench after picking up his third foul with 8:43 left in the first quarter. That’s three fouls in 197 seconds.

[RELATED: Watch Jordan Bell redeem himself after awful missed dunk]

To be fair, Jones faced quite the challenge. He hadn't started a game since Dec. 1, when he sustained a torn left pectoral muscle. The 7-footer underwent surgery and missed the next five months. He was activated Tuesday, a few hours before Game 1, in which he played 102 seconds. He played 90 seconds off the bench in Game 2.

Kerr likely hoped to use Jones’ length and athleticism to provide a lob threat and rim protection. Neither materialized.

NBA rumors: Warriors privately 'cool' on playing when season returns

NBA rumors: Warriors privately 'cool' on playing when season returns

To play or not to play?

That is the question facing the Warriors as the NBA nears a decision on how many teams will participate when the league resumes the 2019-20 season.

While coach Steve Kerr said the team is operating as if the season is over, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday that owner Joe Lacob told his fellow owners that the team was "willing" to play if all 30 NBA teams were asked to play.

But ... Wojnarowski also reported, citing sources, that the Warriors have been "far more cool to the idea in private."

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Based on Wojnawowski's reporting from Friday, the NBA Board of Governors are expected to approve commissioner Adam Silver's proposal for a 22-team restart plan later this week, meaning the Warriors -- who hold the worst record in the league -- would not be asked to play any more games this season.

The Warriors don't have anything left to play for this season. They are the only team that has been officially eliminated from playoff contention. Does it make sense for the players to go through several weeks of training camp to play a handful of meaningless games?

"It's a hard thing to put your mind in that space, 'I'm gonna go out here and compete and bust my a-- and know in five games we're just gonna be back in the offseason again,' " Warriors star Steph Curry told former teammate Anthony Morrow recently on "The Life Podcast."

[RELATED: Warriors facility opens, players show up]

Would it be advantageous for the Warriors to get a brief look at Curry playing alongside Andrew Wiggins? Sure, but they don't need to risk injury to either player when the goal is making sure the team is ready to bounce back for the 2020-21 season.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

Steph Curry reacts to Damian Lillard's comments on 'meaningless games'

Steph Curry reacts to Damian Lillard's comments on 'meaningless games'

Damian Lillard created headlines last week with his comments about the NBA's potential plans for resuming the 2019-20 season.

"If we come back and they're just like, 'We're adding a few games to finish the regular season,' and they're throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don't have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I'm going to be with my team because I'm a part of the team," the Portland Trail Blazers star guard told Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes. "But I'm not going to be participating. I'm telling you that right now.

"If we come back and I don't have an opportunity to make the playoffs -- I will show up to work, I'll be at practice and I'll be with my team. I'm going to do all that and then I'm going to be sitting right on that bench during the games."

What is Steph Curry's reaction to that?

"I feel what he's saying because it's hard mentally to go with this long of gap, and then prepare for games you know don't matter," the Warriors' superstar said on the "The Life Podcast" with Anthony Morrow and Justin Jack. "I get it.

"It's a hard thing to put your mind in that space, 'I'm gonna go out here and compete and bust my a-- and know in five games we're just gonna be back in the offseason again.'"

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Golden State did re-open Chase Center facilities Monday so players could work out again, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Bay Area's Logan Murdock. 

But all indications are that the Warriors won't be playing any additional games this season, and will not be included among the teams that eventually will take the court in Orlando.

[RELATED: Oakland's own Lillard rips Orlovsky for calling him spoiled]

"Between now and Thursday's vote of the board of governors on the plan to restart the season, the NBA is working to complete the details of a 22-team format," ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe wrote Monday.

So for Lillard and the Blazers -- who currently sit in a three-way tie for ninth place in the Western Conference -- it appears they will get the opportunity to claw their way into the playoffs.

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