NBA Playoffs

Champs Overcome Deficit, Take 2-0 Series Lead...

Los Angeles, CA — If you don't believe experience has anything to do with being successful towards championships, then think again. 

The two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors showed why talent and skill are great to have, but it's more of a luxury in having players who have been in big moments that you can rely on. This is a huge reason they were able to take a 2-0 lead in the series. 

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Photo By: Oregonlive

They were able to to overcome a 15-pt halftime deficit (65-50) because Portland was able to knock down 10 3-pointers in the first half. Portland pushed that lead to 17 on the first basket to start the third, and was knocking on the door for a tie in the series. Even with that huge lead, the champs surged back to take the lead with just over two minutes remaining (77-75) before going into the final quarter tied at 89.

Then, the championship pedigree of the two-time defending champs showed up late in game.  

Trailing by eight (108-100), with four minutes remaining, most teams would panic in that position. They certainly did not. They went on a 10-0 run themselves taking a quick lead, and finished Game 2 on a 14-3 run to beat the Trailblazers 114-111.

"We've been here before," Green said, who had a double-double with 16 points and 10. "When you're on a run like we're currently in, you've seen everything. Down eight points with what, four minutes to go, or whatever it was, just got to keep going, because we know we can erase eight points."

"Draymond's been special all playoffs," Klay Thompson said. "...When he goes, we go. He was tremendous tonight." Thompson had 24 points (13 in the 3rd).

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Photo By: San Francisco chronicle

Stephen Curry followed up his 36-pt performance in Game 1 with an 37-pt game in Game 2. He didn't shoot it well from 3-pt (4-14), but was 11-22 from the field. He scored the first eight points for the Warriors, which helped cut into Portland's lead, and he also had eight rebounds and eight assists.

Head coach Steve Kerr knows his team didn't play well, but is grateful for the win. He said his team didn't play with "an edge" in the first half. They found a way to get the victory despite being a -27 from three-point range.

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Photo By: San Francisco chronicle

Portland coach Terry Stotts said his team "lost an opportunity" to tie the series after a better showing in Game 2. "We did play a much better game at both ends of the floor tonight. We've got to take that into Game 3," Stotts said. "It is a lost opportunity, no question. We had a chance to get one here on the road."

His All-Star Damian Lillard started the game slow by not scoring in the first quarter, but finished with 23 points. He also added 10 assists and had an opportunity to tie the game at the buzzer before being stripped by Warriors Andre Iguodala. 

CJ McCollum, who had 22 points, stated after the game: "They stole it, but they earned it down the stretch." When this Portland team returns home, McCollum knows the magnitude of not only showing up to play against the champs, but also what it means to the city of Portland. 

"We've got to bring that same energy at home," McCollum said, "…understand that this is the first time in 19 years we've been in the conference final."

Seth Curry, the brother of Steph, chipped in with 16 points off the bench. His brother acknowledged that younger brother Seth played well in Game 2. "This was like the coolest experience I think I've ever had playing against him. You talk about the stage, he was amazing tonight," Stephen Curry said. "For my parents, I know we've talked about it the whole series, these last two games it's probably nerve-wracking as heck for them. It worked out perfectly tonight. He played well and we won."

Next Game: Saturday 5/18.  

Warriors lead series 2-0. 




 

Lillard, Blazers Send Series Back to Mile-High...

Los Angeles, CA — Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum combined for 62 points in a 119-108 victory in Game 6 that kept the series alive for the Blazers. The Blazers kept their season alive after falling to 3-2 in the series after a Game 5 loss. 

After not shooting the ball well, according to his standards, Lillard said after the 32 performance, "I think over the course of the series, at least after Game 1, I just haven't seen the ball go in consistently enough, and my job is to stay aggressive, keep doing what I do, and tonight, shots fell."

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Photo By: Oregonlive

Portland trailed by as many as 10 points in the opening quarter. They began the second quarter on an 11-4 run to start the second quarter, and the crowd was sensing the run by their hometown team, as they went into halftime with a 58-54 lead. 

The third quarter belonged to Lillard.  

He scored 17 of his game-high 32 in the third. Denver was able to take the lead again early in the quarter, but Portland, led by Lillard, never trailed again. They led by as many as 13 in the fourth before shutting the door on Denver's hopes of advancing. 

The bench showed up for the home team. They outscored Denver's bench 42-13 led by Rodney Hood's 25 points as he was 8-12 from the field, and made 3-4 from 3-pt. Seth Curry chipped in with 14 points.  

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Photo By: Yahoo sports

Denver had all five starters in double figures.  

They were led by All-Star Nikola Jokic, who had a double-double of 29 points and 12 rebounds. He also had a game-high eight assists before fouling out. He was 10-15 from the field, and 2-3 from 3-pt. Jamal Murray also had a double-double (first in post-season career) with 24 points and 10 rebounds. 

"We'll go back home, regroup, like we did for San Antonio, come back with energy and just be ready to play," Murray said.

Paul Millsap had 17 points, and Gary Harris chipped in with 15. 

"I thought our Game 6 here in Portland was better than our Game 6 in San Antonio," Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. "Now we go home and have the best home-court advantage in the NBA." He might be right. His team was better in rebounding and assists, while committing three less turnovers (9-6). 

Now we head back to the Mile High City for a Game 7.  

 "It's basically a game where only one team is going to make it out," Lillard said. "It's your last opportunity to play, so facing elimination is what it is to me, and that's going to be my approach, just like it was tonight. The only thing is that it's going to be on the road. It's for our season. All the marbles."

Saturday 5/10. 

 

 

Jokic, Nuggets Tie Series Heading Back To Mile High...

Los Angeles, CA.-- After 20 minutes of extra basketball (4 overtimes) on Friday night between the Portland Trailblazers and the Denver Nuggets, they turned around and got right back at it in less than 48 hours. 

The longest postseason game in about seven decades went to the Blazers and Denver knew the game on Sunday evening was a "must-win." Regardless of Denver still be technically alive in the series if they were to lose, they knew they couldn't fall to 3-1. 

They came out desperate and weathered the storm from the Blazers, and won Game 4 116-112. 

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Photo By: Denver Post

All-Star Nikola Jokic has been a problem for this team in the first three games, and Game 4 was no different. Despite playing 65 minutes in that quadruple overtime game, he had his second straight triple-double with 21 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assist. It was his fourth triple-double of the 2019 playoffs in just 11 games. He spoke after the game about this team resilience, "I think it's not quitting. We have a lot of competitive guys who don't want to lose. I think we don't want to lose more than we like to win -- which is weird," Jokic said. "We just didn't want to have the excuse that we lost because of four overtimes, because we were tired."

His teammates felt the same way. 

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Photo By: Oregonian

Specifically Jamal Murray, who scored a game-high 34 points answered the challenge. He made all 11 of his free throw attempts and hit the critical one's that helped close the game for the Nuggets. 

They knew the challenge in front of them of trying to win a critical game on an opponents home floor, against a team that has yet to lose on their home floor.  

"Our guys are tough. We're resilient," Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. "I mean, to come in here and win this game 36 hours after losing in four overtimes, speaks to just how tough we are." 

Veteran Paul Millsap had a big game himself with a double-double. He scored 21 points (6-10) FG and 10 rebounds. Gary Harris chipped in with 14 points. 

The Nuggets grabbed 17 offensive rebounds.  

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Photo By: Sean Meagher

"It is disappointing. You go up 3-1 and you have a lot of momentum and obviously that would be a great position to be in. But they're a good team, they came out and played well," Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. "We had a bad third quarter and that kind of made the difference. We made a good comeback, but now it's a three-game series."

The Blazers were outscored 27-14 in the third quarter.  

Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum combined for 57 points, and made half of the teams 12 3-pointers. Lillard had seven assist to go along with his 28 points. 

Al-Farouq Aminu had 19 points and eight years. Seth Curry had 16 points off the bench as he made 4-6 from 3-pt. Curry knocked down three straight at one point in the third quarter. 

Enes Kanter said after Friday's game that the shoulder separation was worse, and wasn't sure he could play. He did play and in 29 minutes had five points, but did have a team-high 10 rebounds. 

Series tied at 2. 

Game 5 Tuesday 5/7 in Denver.