Stephen Curry, Warriors Storm Back to Win Game 2 over Damian Lillard, Blazers

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMay 17, 2019

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 16:  Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors handles the ball against the Portland Trail Blazers during Game Two of the 2019 Western Conference Finals of the NBA Playoffs at the ORACLE Arena on May 16, 2019 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Noah Graham/Getty Images

Stephen Curry posted 37 points, eight rebounds and eight assists as the No. 1 seed Golden State Warriors beat the No. 3 Portland Trail Blazers 114-111 in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals on Thursday at Oracle Arena.

Klay Thompson added 24 points, and Draymond Green contributed 16 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and five blocks for the Warriors, who were without Kevin Durant (right calf strain).

The Blazers led 65-50 at the half and 108-100 with 4:28 remaining, but the Warriors ended Game 2 on a 14-3 run.

Kevon Looney gave the Warriors the lead for good at 112-111 when he threw down an alley-oop pass from Green with 52.9 seconds left.

After Blazers guard CJ McCollum missed a jumper, Green responded with a layup off a Curry dish.

Portland had one last chance to tie the game, but Andre Iguodala blocked Damian Lillard's game-tying three-point attempt.

Lillard scored 23 points for the visiting Blazers, who trail the Warriors 2-0 in the best-of-seven series. McCollum added 22, and Seth Curry had 16 points and four steals off the bench.

    

        

The Blazers Blew Their 1 Shot to Steal Series

The Blazers played fantastic basketball for 32 of 48 minutes.

They hung with the Warriors in the first quarter, outscored the Dubs by 13 in the second and used a 16-8 run to take a late eight-point lead in the fourth.

Lillard was a fantastic distributor as evidenced by his game-high assist total, McCollum scored 16 first-half points, Seth Curry notched a game-high plus-13 and Rodney Hood contributed off the bench once again with 12 points. The team made 18 of 39 three-pointers and was 17-of-33 at one point.

Unfortunately, the Blazers' excellent evening was all for naught as the Warriors outscored them 53-27 over the entire third quarter and the four-minute closing stretch.

Even Golden State head coach Steve Kerr acknowledged his team stole this one:

Overall, Portland was at its best for two-thirds of the game, and the Warriors played their A-game for half that time. It didn't matter, and that could haunt the Blazers, as Nick Friedell of ESPN.com noted:

Golden State's advantage down low played a big part. The Blazers opted to go with a smaller, more mobile lineup after the Warriors shot 51.5 percent from the field in Game 1 against a defense that parked its bigger defenders down low.

The Game 2 strategy worked for the most part, as the Warriors made just nine of 29 three-pointers and struggled offensively for large stretches.

However, the Blazers faced a double-edge sword by giving up their advantage on the boards and in the key: The Warriors outscored Portland 54-32 in points in the paint and outrebounded the visitors 50-37. Golden State dominated down the stretch because Portland had no answer down low. The Warriors' last seven field goals were layups or dunks, in fact.

And therein lies Portland's problem: Its defense (or frankly any defense) will encounter trouble against the Warriors offense even when it's scuffling through a mediocre evening like it did in Game 2.

Guard the paint, and die by the three. Trap and try to take away the three, and die by layups and dunks. No one wins except for Golden State.

Granted, Lillard and McCollum were a bit off on Thursday, shooting just 38.5 percent combined. Chances are those numbers will improve going forward.

But the Warriors survived an off-shooting night from Klay Thompson, who hit just eight of 22 field goals. And players not named Curry or Thompson made just one of seven three-pointers.

Portland could certainly win at home, but it's hard seeing how the team can play much better than it did on Thursday. That's especially the case against a Warriors team that has won three of four NBA Finals and has a wealth of postseason experience.

Lastly, Golden State has been down this game-script road before. As Zach Lowe of ESPN tweeted, the Warriors have a habit of lulling their opponent into a false sense of security before exploding in the second half:

 

That may well set the tone for the rest of the series: Ultimately, an amazing effort by a tough-as-nails Portland team still ended in a loss, and now the Blazers face a significant uphill climb.

      

What's Next?

Portland will host Golden State for Game 3 on Saturday at 9 p.m. ET.