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Lillard’s scoring explosion powers Blazers past Warriors

Just like in Game 2, the Portland Trail Blazers jumped out to a big third-quarter lead against the Golden State Warriors behind some hot shooting from Damian Lillard. The difference is that this time, they kept it.

The Blazers had an answer for every Warriors run on Saturday, taking Game 3, 120-108, and cutting Golden State’s series lead to 2-1.

Lillard scored 40 points, a playoff career high, power the Blazers to the victory. Draymond Green’s 19-point third quarter, unlike his fourth-quarter takeover, didn’t have much impact on the game. On the contrary, Al-Farouq Aminu went toe-to-toe with Green, missing just one shot the entire game and collecting 10 rebounds.

A slow start, in which the Warriors reprised last year’s strategy against the Grizzlies of defending Moe Harkless with Andrew Bogut, helped the defending champions get out to a six-point lead at the end of the first quarter. From there, it was all Blazers, as Lillard stayed hot and Allen Crabbe added 10 points off the bench.

There is no definitive word on whether Stephen Curry will play in Game 4 on Monday. He did some 2-on-2 work Saturday and plans to test out his right knee with 3-on-3 scrimmaging on Sunday at practice, but Steve Kerr didn’t tip his hand one way or the other as to what his prospects of playing are like.

If Curry plays, this series is a wrap. If he doesn’t, the Warriors probably still win, but the Blazers have proven themselves a tough out.