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.
Dray coast-to-coast buzzer beater 🚨 pic.twitter.com/6ocZZZXvQI— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) May 19, 2019
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.
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.
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.