The Golden State Warriors erased a second consecutive double-digit halftime deficit on Saturday, in Portland, en route to a 110-99 victory over the Trail Blazers.
With this second come-from-behind win after Thursday's, the Dubs are now in position, up 3-0 in the series, to wrap up the set and head to their fifth consecutive NBA Finals. No NBA team has ever come back from being down three games to none in a seven-game playoff series.
Portland was expected to come out with added vigor and heart, especially due to the fact that they were playing in front of their home crowd at the Moda Center. Early on, the Blazers looked as if they had shaken-off the after-effects of their Game 2 meltdown, swarming the Warriors on defense and executing beautifully efficient offense. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum looked good in the first quarter, scoring eight and six points, respectively. The Blazers, as a team, were getting to the free-throw line with ease, early in the game, which led to a lot of their success (Team: 16-22 in first half free-throws).
Golden State wasn't playing terribly, in the first half, but their defense was not up to par, as they allowed the Blazers to hang 66 points on them. At one point, late in the second quarter (2:28 remaining), Portland held an 18-point lead after Seth Curry knocked down a 27-foot three pointer. Yet, the Warriors would regroup and rally to finish the half on an 11-6 run, pulling to within 13 points at the midpoint (66-53). After watching a 15-point halftime lead disintegrate in the third quarter of Game 2, the Blazers had to be thinking, "Not again. Not in our house."
Well... it happened again. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, once again, owned the third quarter, as the two combined to outscore the entire Blazers team 17-13 in the period. All in all, the Warriors ended the third on a 23-6 run, over the final 7:50 of the quarter, taking an 82-79 lead into the fourth.
In that final quarter, Draymond Green put an exclamation point on what was an outstanding all-around performance by the former Defensive Player of the Year. Rewinding the game a bit, Green was the key factor in the second quarter, pushing the action at the offensive end of the court, while the Blazers were making their first-half run. Draymond drove repeatedly, scoring easy buckets at the rim, drawing fouls, and knocking down his free-throws (8-9 in Game 3 FT). Fast forward to the fourth, Green already had a triple-double, ultimately finishing with 20 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists, adding four steals and one block in his stellar defensive effort. His facilitative efforts as a point-forward maneuvered the Dubs into position to snatch Game 3 and cemented their lead, down the stretch, on Saturday night in Portland.
Steph had another solid performance, putting up: 36 points, six rebounds, and three assists, with six (6-16) three-pointers, going 8-for-9 from the free-throw line. Thompson added his usual two-way effort, executing on offense and locking down on defense, contributing: 19 points, five rebounds, five assists, two steals, and two blocks. Off the bench, Kevon Looney, Jordan Bell, and Alfonzo McKinnie played key roles, filling the void for the injured Kevin Durant (calf). They also received more run than usual, as starting forward Andre Iguodala left the game in the third with a lower leg injury.
Coach Steve Kerr told reporters, after the game, that Iguodala would receive an MRI on his lower leg on Sunday. The Warriors will have a "Golden" opportunity to earn a series sweep, Monday night, in Game 4 versus the Blazers.