Culture of Hoops

Warriors Pull Off Major Comeback to Take 3-0 Series Lead

Screen Capture courtesy of the NBA/YouTube.

Screen Capture courtesy of the NBA/YouTube.

For the Golden State Warriors in Game 3, it was Patrick McCaw and JaVale McGee who monumentally altered the outcome.

No, you don’t need to excuse yourself, my words were meant as stated.

Stephen Curry closed out the 119-113 win with a dominant fourth quarter, but the ubiquitous excellence of McCaw and the determined energy of McGee set the groundwork for a possible victory much earlier. McCaw put up an 11/5/5 line in about 28 minutes. McGee put up 14 points in 16 minutes which included multiple supremely athletic dunks.

The primary reason for McCaw’s role was Kevin Durant sitting out Game 3 with a calf injury. Matt Barnes and Shaun Livingston, two wings who would normally log heavier minutes than McCaw, also missed the game.

Portland was up 37-30 through the first quarter and maintained a double-digit legit well into the third. Klay Thompson, who had a rough run during the first half, came alive and found his shooting stroke during this period.

The biggest adjustment, however, was when Mike Brown (coaching for Steve Kerr – out with an illness) and company decided to trap Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum following screens. This created multiple live-ball turnovers and forced players like Al-Farouq Aminu and Noah Vonleh to make the decisions.

Lillard finished with 31 points and McCollum had 32, both going 10-23 shooting from the field. Curry and Thompson combined to go 18-46 from the floor. Consider this – the Warriors are up 3-0 with Durant missing the last two games and the Splash Brothers being cold for essentially the entire series thus far.

The Warriors also benefited from the play of Andre Iguodala. He clanked all of his three-point attempts (0-6 from deep), but had a 16/7/3 line and was a vital contributor during Golden State’s comeback.

Another critical component was the Warriors only committing 7 turnovers compared to 16 for the Blazers. Golden State shot 44 percent from the field and about 33 percent from deep. Portland was close to 44 percent and 41 percent in the same categories.

This was a game Portland had to win for both the series and the set of circumstances. No Kerr, Durant, Livingston, and Barnes. The game was in Portland and featured the return of big man Jusuf Nurkic. Despite all of that working in its favor, the Blazers still managed to blow Game 3.

As the Blazers crumbled to bits, the Warriors decided to deliver a soul-crushing loss that should carry a lingering impact into Game 4. That will occur Monday, 4/24 at 10:30 PM ET.

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