Many teams can hang with the Warriors for 36 minutes. Sadly for them, they have to play 48. Last night, the Golden State Warriors got trounced for the first three-quarters against the Portland Trail Blazers. Then the fourth quarter happened, when the game that wasn’t close became close and then became not-close again—Warriors, 110; Blazers, 99.
That score, like Game 1’s, is an unreliable narrator in describing how the game played out. The Blazers were, without question, the better team for the bulk of the game. They ended the first quarter with a 13-point lead. When the Warriors clawed back late in the 2nd-quarter to get within three points, the Blazers, in a span of one minute, scored eight. Throughout the game, each time the Warriors charged, the Blazers repelled. The third-quarter ended with Portland up by 11.
Sitting on an 11-point lead heading into the 4th-quarter is sitting on a well-cushioned seat indeed. It’s so comfortable that one might be forgiven for settling in and kicking up your feet. But this is the Warriors’ house and you just put your feet on their coffee table. And now you’re going to lose. The Warriors opened the 4th by scoring six. Portland scored four. Then the Warriors scored nine. Tie game. When Portland led for the last time with 5:21 left in the game, they had 95 points. They finished with 99. The Warriors warred and the Trail Blazers trailed. That’s how they do.
The Warriors were lucky to have walked away from last night’s game with a win. Or maybe they’re just that good. The team known for its historical offense put up an impenetrable defense in the fourth. It helped (a lot) that Portland’s Mason Plumlee seemed hellbent on giving the Warriors win, and the Warriors’ Festus Ezeli was more than happy to snatch it. With the win, the Warriors have a comfortable 2-0 series lead as it heads to Portland. More importantly, it takes the pressure off of bringing Steph back early. And perhaps more importantly than that, it shows that this team can continue to win with the MVP looking sharp while sitting on the bench.
Western Conference Semi-Finals
Golden State Warriors (1) v. Portland Trail Blazers (5)
Warriors lead series 2-0
Sunday, May 1: Warriors WON (118-106)
Tuesday, May 3: Warriors WON (110-99)
Saturday, May 7: Warriors at Portland, 5:30 PM, ABC
Monday, May 9: Warriors at Portland, 7:30 PM, TNT
Wednesday, May 11: Warriors at home, TBD
Friday, May 13: Warriors at Portland, TBD
Monday, May 16: Warriors at home, TBD