PORTLAND -- Facing elimination on Monday night, the Portland Trail Blazers did not roll over in front of their homecourt. Portland came out with energy on both ends, and got a nice scoring punch from its starting center.
The Blazers biggest lead on the night was 17 points in Game 4.
After sustaining a 12-0 Warriors run late in the third and early into the fourth quarter, Golden State tied the game at the 4:34 mark of the final period.
With under a minute to go, the game was all tied up at 111, and that’s where it stayed at the end of the regulation.
In overtime, it was back-and-forth until Draymond Green hit a dagger three-pointer with 39.6 seconds remaining in OT. The Warriors complete the sweep and beat the Trail Blazer 119-117.
Here are some quick thoughts from the Blazers Game 4 loss:
1. Blazers went away from the pick-and-roll early
The pick-and-roll had been the Blazers’ bread and butter all season long when center Jusuf Nurkic was healthy.
The Trail Blazers continued to play through the pick-and-roll with Enes Kanter, but it hasn’t been nearly as effective.
Portland started Meyers Leonard at center for the second straight game on Monday night. But even though Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts mentioned that his team would not make many more adjustments while addressing the media pregame, Damian Lillard played more off the ball and it was rare to see Lillard and a Blazers big run the pick-and-roll to start the game.
The Warriors have defended Lillard extremely well all series. With less pick-and-rolls, Lillard was able to get free more often on offense. In turn, he had a good shooting night, but it wasn’t enough against the back-to-back champs.
2. Warriors missed Iguodala on both ends
Andre Iguodala did not play for the Warriors after suffering a left calf strain in Game 3. Iguodala was initially listed as questionable for Game 4.
Alfonzo McKinnie started in place of the injured Iguodala. The young McKinnie hesitated to shoot after not shooting so well to start the game. It was obvious that Warriors missed Iguodala’s presence on both ends.
Quinn Cook and Jonas Jerebko also got more minutes.
With no Kevin Durant, and no DeMarcus Cousins, the Warriors lack of depth showed on Monday night. However, Golden State showed its experience in overtime and was able to complete the sweep.
3. The Leonard effect
Chants of “Meyers Leonard” erupted in the second quarter after Leonard had already scored 20 points on the night. It wasn’t just his scoring though that was getting the Blazers crowd amped up, Leonard took an offensive charge and got a steal within a couple of minutes of each other in the third quarter. He also posted a double-double.
Leonard was bringing the energy into the team and the crowd. The Warriors were just able to outlast the Blazers.
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