Thursday, 22 March, 2018

Durant optimistic of playing in Warriors' Game 3 at Portland

Kristopher Love | 21 April, 2017, 17:35

The Golden State defense was particularly destructive in the third period, when the Trail Blazers missed 16 of 22 shots, allowing the Warriors to extend a 55-46 halftime lead to 83-58. Clark has been outstanding against the Blazers this year with an average of 13 points on 76 percent shooting during the regular season. Although Steve Kerr acknowledges that injuries happen during National Basketball Association games, he is still hopeful to have "a healthy line-up" by then.

Obviously, not having starting center Jusuf Nurkic hurts in that regard, but no one else on Portland's roster looked capable of making an impact. The sharpness from the second quarter carried over into the third, when the Warriors finally buried the Blazers for good in a 28-12 sustained drubbing.

Stephen Curry had 19 points and four steals, and backcourt mate Klay Thompson added 16 points as the Warriors won easily despite scoring 11 fewer points than in their 121-109 win in Game One.

Durant's strained left calf isn't necessarily considered a serious issue, but the Warriors aren't going to take any risks with his availability for the rest of the playoffs, so they'll rest Durant Wednesday in an effort to avoid any sort of further aggravation. Washington plays host to Atlanta, Houston to Oklahoma City and Golden State to Portland.

"They know that's what our team is built on", Kerr said of the Golden State defence.

"We're pretty thin", Kerr said.

On Sunday, Lillard and McCollum cut into the lane, finished with acrobatics, fired away from long-range, combined for 54 shot attempts, and basically were a two-man gang that kept the game tied through three quarters.

He said: "I hate being out. We know how we execute what our bread and butter is at the other end of the floor and we've got to rely on that and not get into that one-on-one battle at all". All of Napier's points came in the second half once the game was out of reach.

Putting a courageous face on the Warriors' terrifying performance, Damian Lillard observed that the points from one game don't carry over to the next in a playoff series.

KEEP AN EYE ON: Houston's Patrick Beverley was 11 for 41 with 31 points, total, in his most recent six playoff games - until Game 1 of this series, when he shot 8 for 13 and scored 21 points. In Game 1, Lillard and McCollum had the best combined half of their careers. I'm close, but I'm not going to play the second game. In the long term, it's better for him to take all the time he needs to get back on the court.

With Durant being out, it will give him five full days off before Game 3 on Saturday in Portland.