Portland will look to get back into the series when they host the Warriors in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals at the Moda Center on Saturday.
The Warriors hold a commanding 2-0 lead after the first two games of the series. Despite playing without Kevin Durant, they are now heavy favorites to reach the NBA Finals yet again. In Durant’s absence, Stephen Curry has taken the baton for Golden State. He is averaging 36.5 points after the first two games. Durant was the main man in the playoffs, but Curry has taken the role after his injury.
Klay Thompson has also turned a corner in this series. He has scored 50 points in the first few games. Thompson has also done a solid job on the defensive end. He is the primary defender on Damian Lillard, and the point guard has found it tough to get going against the Warriors. Draymond Green has impressed as usual, and his pick-and-roll with Curry has been a deadly weapon for the Warriors.
As for Portland, they will face a must-win Game 3 on their home court. The first game was a blowout win for the Warriors, but the Blazers put up a fight in Game 2. They led deep into the fourth quarter, but could not close out the game. Lillard has been poor, and he has scored just 42 points in the two games combined. C. J. McCollum has been the same, and he has 41 points from the first two games.
Aside from these two, the bench players have done a decent job. Seth Curry had 16 points in Game 2, and Rodney Hood has continued to be a solid performer off the bench. Enes Kanter can’t cope with the Warriors’ switches and playing him heavy minutes did not help in Game 1. Terry Stotts used the likes Meyers Leonard and Zach Collins in Game 2, which helped them on both the ends. He should continue with that approach for Game 3.
Portland’s main problem is that their back-court has not delivered. Lillard was sensational in the first round against the Thunder, and McCollum took up the responsibility in the second round against the Nuggets. Stotts needs both his guards to step up if they want any chance of staging a comeback in this series. As for the Warriors, a time machine has sent them four years back. They are playing like 2015 without Kevin Durant, and Curry is reaping the benefits.
Portland Trail Blazers vs Golden State Warriors Prediction
Even though the Warriors are rolling, Portland should get their first win of the series in Game 3. They came close in Game 2, and the adjustments certainly helped. Kanter will play fewer minutes again for Portland. Lillard and McCollum will need to step up, but they have done that at home. Even though the Warriors should win the series, Portland will make it interesting with a win in Game 3.