Warriors vs Blazers Live: The Portland Trail Blazers and the Golden State Warriors collide in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals on Thursday night. The Golden State Warriors can take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals against the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday when the teams collide in Game 2 in Oakland.
Even short-handed, Golden State proved too much for Portland to open the Conference Finals.
“We’ve played against Kanter before, and there are certain looks you can get.” Though Stephen Curry was directly talking about the Portland Trail Blazers plodding center, Enes Kanter, he may as well have been discussing the series in general.
Game one of the 2019 Western Conference Finals was a 22 point drubbing that highlighted some of the same issues that have been at the center of Portland’s playoff exits over the past few years. Lacking defensive-minded wings and forced to play slow-footed bigs, the Blazers are particularly vulnerable to the high screens that free up Golden State’s shooters.
They do have one advantage: rebounding. The problem is that to exercise that advantage, they have to play a player who kills them elsewhere on the court … so even their advantage is a disadvantage.
Zack Collins figures to play a role in any change. After managing 18 minutes in game one though it’s unclear how much more of a role he can handle in this series.
The nuclear answer is going extremely small and using someone like Evan Turner or Mo Harkless, though again, this presents another set of problems. It’s a tough decision with no clear cut best response, but expect the Blazers to try something, anything, different. Because the looks they ceded to the Warriors sharp shooters in game one were patently ludicrous.
One blissful difference between these Blazers and the Houston Rockets: there will be no leaked memos with “potential points” or whining about the refs or salary cap. As Damian Lillard said post game
“It’s tough. But once we lace our shoes up and put our uniforms on, it’s fair and square. You have to go out there and handle your business.”
One change that may not require much adjustment: the Blazers shooting was pretty abysmal. They hit just 25% of their threes, and were 30 of 83 overall from the field — a lowly 36%. After coming off a tough seven game series, expect the Blazers to regroup. Their goal was almost certainly to win at least one game in Oakland; with more time for the team and coaching staff to prepare, I expect a tougher game two tonight.
The Trail Blazers had three players score in double-figures besides Lillard and McCollum, led by Rodney Hood and Maurice Harkless, who finished with 17 points each. Six bench players saw more than 10 minutes of action for the Warriors and they are firing on all cylinders at both ends of the court, which is concerning for a Trail Blazers team that lacks depth.