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: Chris Paul wants out of Houston, Stephen A. Smith hears

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AP

NBA rumors: Chris Paul wants out of Houston, Stephen A. Smith hears

Houston, you have a problem.

The James Harden-Chris Paul arrangement on the Rockets could be ending soon.

And it comes at a bad time for the Rockets, who now could have a chance for the 2020 NBA championship with the Warriors licking their wounds from a brutal Finals loss.

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith dropped this bit of news on his radio show Friday while talking to NBA insider Brian Windhorst.

"In the end, it's this: With Kevin Durant out, with Klay Thompson out for most of the season, one could argue the Houston Rockets now have a window to get to the NBA Finals," Smith said. "But you're also hearing Chris Paul wants out, Chris Paul wouldn't mind going somewhere else, preferrably LA, maybe, we don't know, with LeBron. We don't know. But you're hearing he wants out."

Smith dropped the "Los Angeles" nugget before the Lakers agreed to acquire All-Star big man Anthony Davis in a trade with the Pelicans on Saturday.

The Lakers will have between $27 million and $32 million left in salary-cap space, so they could try to acquire Paul to fill their point guard hole. But the New York Times reported that the Lakers have their eyes on free agent Kemba Walker, a much younger option.

Paul's remaining contract could be an issue, though. He's owed $38.5 million in 2019-20, just over $41 million in 2020-21 and just over $44 million in 2021-22.

"I would never say that CP3's untradeable," Windhorst said. "He's tradeable, for sure. But he's not tradeable in a way that makes their team better."

If the Rockets break up their two-headed monster, you can give the Warriors a large hand in causing its demise. Golden State has ended Houston's season each of the last two years. The Rockets believed they were better than the Warriors, but each season, they were proven wrong.

[RELATED: Lakers start arms race to dethrone Warriors]

Under the Warriors' watch, the Los Angeles Clippers, led by Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, broke up. The LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers broke up after four consecutive NBA Finals matchups. Soon, the Rockets could be the next team to come crashing down because they were unable to get past Golden State.

LeBron James welcomes Anthony Davis to Lakers with Instagram post

LeBron James welcomes Anthony Davis to Lakers with Instagram post

The blockbuster trade isn't official, but that didn't stop LeBron James from weighing in.

A few hours after ESPN reported that the Lakers and Pelicans have agreed to a trade that would send Anthony Davis to Los Angeles, LeBron posted this on his Instagram feed.

LeBron is getting the running mate he desperately needs in LA. No offense to Kyrie Irving or Dwyane Wade, but Davis is the best player LeBron will play with during his Hall of Fame NBA career.

So you can understand LeBron's excitement.

Even former Lakers president Magic Johnson likes the trade.

Yes, Magic just praised the guy he claims stabbed him in the back during his time with the Lakers. Weird times in Los Angeles.

Chances are, if any Warriors player acknowledges the trade on social media, they won't share the same level of excitement as LeBron.

The Lakers are re-tooling their roster just as the Warriors are licking their many, many wounds from an NBA Finals loss to the Toronto Raptors.

[RELATED: Lakers need more than Davis]

Just two days after that bitter defeat, seeing LeBron and the Lakers acquire Davis is not the news they wanted.