PORTLAND – As the saying goes, it really isn’t a series until somebody loses at home. The Trail Blazers came out determined not to let that happen in Game 3 on Saturday night.
As expected, the Trail Blazers crowd was loud and, as expected, the Blazers shot better at home. Lineup changes helped Portland jump out to a big lead and sustain it, but it wasn’t easy.
The Blazers led by as many as 18 points in the first half.
It was a similar type third quarter in Game 3 to what happened in Game 2. Golden State charged back on Portland and outscored them 29-13 in the third on Saturday night.
And just like Game 2, the Warriors made timely buckets and the Blazers were not able to convert from the field or from the free throw line. Golden State now takes a commanding 3-0 series lead with a 110-99 Game 3 victory.
Rapid Reaction: Déjà vu. The Blazers lead big early, watched GSW take the lead late, and lost a tough one to the Warriors in Game 3. @dwightjaynes breaks it all down. #RipCity pic.twitter.com/IdmWsueh54
Rapid Reaction: Déjà vu. The Blazers lead big early, watched GSW take the lead late, and lost a tough one to the Warriors in Game 3. @dwightjaynes breaks it all down. #RipCity pic.twitter.com/IdmWsueh54— NBC Sports Northwest (@NBCSNorthwest) May 19, 2019
Here are some quick thoughts from the Blazers Game 3 loss:
1. Starting lineup changes
The biggest adjustments for both teams in Game 3 was getting a big man in the starting lineup, who hadn’t played much all in the first two games of the series.
It was first reported about an hour before tip-off that Golden State was going to start center Damian Jones in place of Andrew Bogut. The Blazers went with center Meyers Leonard into the starting slot, while Enes Kanter came off the bench.
Jones came back from a pectoral injury this series. He hadn’t played since December. The Blazer had the advantage with the lineup change. Leonard made a positive impact on the defensive end to start the game, alerting shots at the rim.
But Leonard not only tried to anchor the defense, he was the first Trail Blazers player in double figures. A 7-footer who can space the floor has always been one of Leonard’s best attributes. Leonard hesitated on a few of his three-point attempts, but he was still effective from deep if even with a little hesitation. Leonard finished with 16 points, second to McCollum's 23.
2. Blazers didn’t take advantage at the free throw line
With the crowd behind them, the Trail Blazers started out as the aggressors, attacking the basket and in turn getting the Warriors into foul trouble. Portland’s biggest lead in the first quarter was 10 points and that’s exactly the number of free throws they hit in the first quarter.
Both Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum got the Warriors guards caught in the air on defense. The Blazers' guards took advantage by shooting right into the Warriors. More often than not, Golden State would get whistled for the foul.
For the Warriors, it was rare to see them at the line until late in the second quarter. Meyers Leonard picked up his fourth foul early in the third quarter. That was a big blow for Portland since Leonard was getting into a grove at the point in the game.
The problem for the Blazers --
They were not hitting their free throws.
McCollum missed 2-of-3 free throws midway through the final period that would’ve cut the Warriors lead to three. That seemed like the turning point for the Blazers.
3. Draymond had his way with the Blazers in transition
If wasn’t for Draymond Green getting out and running the floor for the Warriors, Golden State might not have been able to stick around. Green was not only scoring in transition, he also pushed the ball up the floor and found his open teammates. Green and the Warriors got out and ran the floor on Blazer misses and makes.
NEXT UP: The Trail Blazers and Warriors will tip-off Game 4 on Monday night at 6:00pm. You can catch the game on NBC Sports Northwest. Our pregame coverage starts at 5:30pm.
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