It's a clunker for Blazers, another win for Warriors
OAKLAND, California — Given that there are no mulligans allowed in the NBA playoffs, the Trail Blazers must live with what they put onto the floor Wednesday night at Oracle Arena.
It was cover-your-eyes stuff. Kids, don't watch without parental approval.
If Game 2 were a fish, the Blazers would toss it back in the ocean. If it were a movie, it would be Ishtar.
Golden State's 110-81 dismantling of the visitors was surprising in that it was accomplished despite an eyesore of a shooting game by its All-Star backcourt pair, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, who combined to make only 12 of 35 shots from the field.
And it was done minus star forward Kevin Durant and rotation players Shaun Livingston and Matt Barnes, who sat out the game while nursing injuries.
Portland did not have injured center Jusuf Nurkic, who spent the night squirming uncomfortably in his seat on the Blazer bench, wishing he could help out his underperforming and overmatched teammates.
The good news is the Blazers can't play much worse than they did in falling behind 2-0 in the best-of-seven first round series, which swings to Portland for Game 3 Saturday night at Moda Center.
"We've got to have that one," said Damian Lillard, who had 12 points, no assists and four turnovers — and only two points after the first quarters. "We play really well on our home floor. We know we're capable of beating (the Warriors).
"Things got away from us tonight. We made it hard on ourselves. But it's a series. Points don't carry over. So you can't get too emotional or too low about this kind of game."
But you could if you thought about it.
The Blazers shot .333 from the field, including .206 (7 for 34) from 3-point range. They committed 19 turnovers that led to 20 Golden State points. They lost the battle of rebounds (54-47), assists (31-17) and points in the paint (50-36).
The glaring weakness was the inability to put the ball in the basket.
"We couldn't make shots," said reserve guard Allen Crabbe, who had six points on 3-for-10 shooting. "That was pretty much it. We did OK on the defensive side, but we just struggled offensively. Nothing went in for us."
After combining for 75 points in a 121-109 loss in Sunday's series opener, Lillard and McCollum combined for 23 points on 9-for-34 shooting — 1 for 7 on 3-point attempts.
"I had some good looks that I missed; I got some tough looks that I missed," said McCollum, who followed up a career-high 41-point effort with 11 points on 4-for-17 shooting. "They did a good job defensively."
Lillard, who scored 34 points in the opener, was 5 for 17 Wednesday night, missing all four of his 3-point attempts. He had a dunk attempt swatted by Klay Thompson, and other drives thwarted by strong help defense.
McCollum and Lillard "were both surrounded by two or three guys each time we got past our defender," Lillard said. "We know that's how they're going to try to defend us."
That's the plan from the other side.
"We didn't let them get into their comfort zone," said Golden State's Draymond Green, who scored only six points but had 12 rebounds, 10 assists and three blocks. "When they do, they're as tough to stop as anybody in the league.
"You don't expect to hold them to 23 points every night, but you can't give them 75, either. We just have to keep trying to make it tough on them."
Added small forward Patrick McCaw, a rookie who drew the start in Durant's absence: "The key to the game is stopping those two players. If those guys are not scoring 20-plus points each, you can clearly see there's not much Portland can do with us. Our defensive intensity the entire game was amazing."
Curry finished with 19 points, six rebounds, six assists and four steals, but made only 6 of 18 shots from the field. Thompson had his second straight poor offensive game with 16 points on 6-for-17 shooting to go with six turnovers.
"We didn't really get it going much or consistently through the game," Curry said. "We won this game with our defense. Despite the few mini-runs (the Blazers) had, we owned that side of the floor tonight."
Said Green: "We won by almost 30 points without anybody having a huge game. But everybody did a little bit of something. That's especially important with K.D. out. It's a confidence booster for us to be able to win like that without him."
Green was forgetting about one Warrior who rose above the rest — backup center JaVale McGee, channeling an in-his-prime Vince Carter at one end of the court and Elmore Smith at the other.
With teammates tossing him lob passes for dunks, the 7-foot, 270-pound McGee made all seven shots from the field. He finished with 15 points, five rebounds and four blocked shots in 13 minutes. His two-game series total: 10 for 11 from the field, 21 points, 10 rebounds, six blocked shots in 23 minutes.
"His energy is great," Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. "His length, his ability to catch the lob and be a presence around the rim. … our guys made some great passes to him tonight. He made a huge impact."
McGee's performance, Green observed, "was kind of like a bail-out for us. You get in trouble, he goes to the rim and he dunks it. But it was more than that. It was offensive rebounds. It was a great post move. It was the blocks. It was the pick-and-roll coverage. He was amazing all over the court for us tonight."
McGee's pre-eminence in the series bothers at least one Blazer.
"We can't allow him to impact the game the way he has," Lillard said. "We've seen him play a number of games, and he has his moments. But he's not coming in doing what he's been doing these first two games. We have to limit that if we want a chance to win games."
With Durant out, did the Blazers blow a golden opportunity to steal a rare victory on the Warriors' homecourt?
"Both games were missed opportunities," McCollum said. "We played well enough to win for about 42 minutes of Game 1. Tonight, we had our opportunity to perform well and we didn't."
The Warriors used an early 20-2 run to go ahead 24-11. A 33-17 lead after one quarter was trimmed to 43-42 shortly before halftime.
"(The Blazers) made a great push in the second quarter," Kerr said. "Our offense got scattered. We were rushing everything. We were just not poised offensively, and they took advantage. They got some transition hoops and really came after us."
That was Portland's one shining moment. The Warriors upped the margin to 55-46 at halftime, then waved goodbye with an 11-2 spurt to start the third quarter. The Blazers, making 6 of 22 shots, were outscored 28-12 in the period to fall behind 83-58.
"They're the best third-quarter team in the league," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. "A good team really knows how to turn up the screws in the third quarter, and that's what they did."
Soon it was 91-62, and the starters were calling it a night.
"Sometimes shots go in; sometimes they don't," Kerr said. "We're not going to take credit for their missed shots. They missed some open ones that they hit in Game 1. But in general, our defense was excellent tonight."
The Blazers' hill to climb now is a steep one. In order for them to advance to the second round, they'll need to win four of five against the best team in the NBA, with at least one of them coming on the Warriors' homecourt.
"It's not the end of the world," Crabbe said.
But, it would seem, you can see it from there.
NOTES: Kerr said the decision to sit Durant was a preventative measure as much as anything. "It's not worth it," the Golden State coach said. "(The calf) is tinged. If we throw him out there and he pulls it and is out for a few weeks, you'd feel like an idiot. We are going to err on the side of caution. Hopefully, another few days of rest will get him right." … Kerr indicated Durant, Livingston and Barnes all could be ready for Saturday's Game 3 at Moda Center. "I think everybody is healing and on the right path," Kerr said. … After the game, Kerr was asked if being ahead 2-0 will factor into if Durant will play in Game 3. "It could," he said. "We'll talk to Kevin and the training staff to see how he's doing. If he's ready to play, he'll play. But if there's any question, then we won't play him. We have to get him healthy." … Portland's 12 third-quarter points tied for the fewest the Warriors have allowed in a playoff game in the "Shot Clock Era" (1954-55) … Moe Harkless led Portland with 15 points along with eight rebounds and three blocks, but the starting small forward made only 5 of 14 shots from the field.