With Kevin Durant, Shaun Livingston and Matt Barnes out of Game 2 because of injury, many were expecting to see the Golden State Warriors at their weakest Wednesday.
The Warriors locked down defensively on their way to a 110-81 win over the Portland Trail Blazers in their first-round matchup at Oracle Arena. Stephen Curry scored 19 points, Draymond Green had another all-around sterling performance and JaVale McGee was huge off the bench.
|Warriors Top Performers|
|Blazers Top Performers|
Golden State holds a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series heading to Portland's Moda Center for Game 3 on Saturday.
The Blazers, days removed from giving the Warriors three quarters' worth of a valiant fight, were outclassed despite Durant's absence. They shot just 33.3 percent from the floor overall, including a 7-of-34 rate from beyond the arc, and the two teams spent most of the fourth quarter trading blows with their bench units.
Curry did not play a minute in the fourth quarter, while Green (six points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists) and Klay Thompson (16 points) played only briefly, ceding things to the reserves. Their utter dominance was a little off-putting for those hoping for an encore of Game 1:
What made the Warriors' victory all the more surprising was the nature by which they did it. Durant, who had 32 points and 11 rebounds in Game 1 on Sunday, sat out with a calf injury. The absences of Livingston (hand) and Barnes (foot) left Golden State without three members of its regular rotation.
What's more, none of the Thompson-Curry-Green trio shot all that well from the field. The Warriors Big Four (minus one) made just 13 of their 40 field-goal attempts together.
Instead, it was the likes of McGee, Ian Clark and Iguodala who helped keep things moving offensively. This was nothing short of a breakout outing for McGee, who took advantage of Golden State's lack of interior presence for the second straight game. He finished with 15 points, five rebounds and four blocks in just 13 minutes of play.
Suffice it to say, the internet was pleased with these developments:
Clark added 13 points off the bench, and Iguodala finished with six points, 10 rebounds and six assists.
CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard, so brilliant in their Game 1 effort, could not muster the same energy Wednesday. The pair combined for 23 points on 9-of-34 shooting, just days after propelling Portland with 75 points.
Maurice Harkless led the Blazers in scoring with 15.
While it's impossible to say that any series is over—as Golden State knows too well firsthand—it would take a monumental shift for the Blazers to have any chance. They had opportunities in each of the first two games—in Game 1 with Golden State's lackadaisical defensive effort for three quarters, in Game 2 with the absence of Durant.
It's unclear if Durant will be healthy for Game 3, but the Blazers might just need to hope they get out of this series without being swept.