Tuesday was not a good night for the Portland Trail Blazers. They did not get a lot from their starters and they did not get a lot from their bench. They also did not get a lot from their legs. They looked absolutely exhausted through most of the game and they could not keep up with the Warriors in the second half.
The Blazers did their absolute best to do so in the first half, but the further the game went along the further Blazers fell behind.
Early on, it looked as if the Blazers were going to make a game of this. They jumped out to an early 5-0 lead. It did not last. The Warriors started pulling away, but then the Blazers would fight back, and the Warriors would pull ahead, and the Blazers would fight back. This happened all the way through the fourth quarter. The Blazers did not have the energy to cut the lead below six in the second half and we know the result from there.
The Blazers are now in a 0-1 hole.
The Blazers played a very emotional Game 7 only 48 hours before they stepped on the court in Oakland. That’s not an excuse as the Warriors defeated the Rockets in a very emotional and hard fought series. The Warriors just wanted this game more.
And it looks like Kevin Durant is out until at least Game 4.
The Blazers need to capitalize over the next two games.
Steph Curry has found his stroke
Over the last two games for Steph Curry, it hasn’t mattered what defenses have thrown at him, the dude was going to get buckets.
Throughout the start of the playoffs, there had been something off with Curry. He had some very un-Curry like performances. Lots of people were saying it was a hand injury or an ankle injury. To me Curry wasn’t able to get into the flow of the offense because of the Warriors running heavy ISO with Kevin Durant. When the Warriors run ISO Durant, the ball stops moving like the old Warriors and Durant does what he does probably better than anyone has ever done in the game.
This has also slowed down Klay Thompson.
The Warriors are at their best when the ball is zipping around, causing spacing issues, and making defenders chase Thompson and Curry all over the court.
How do the Blazers stop this? Many defenses have tried this over the years and all have failed. Though doing something like this might work.
Dame and CJ need to show up
On Tuesday night the Blazers most consistent player was Mo Harkless. That’s right, Harkless. He was 7-12 from the field and had 17 points on the night. CJ and Dame added a combined 36 points.
That will not get it done against the Warriors.
The Warriors trapped Dame and CJ all over the court, cutting off passing lanes and making any shot on the court a highly contested one. Neither guard had a clean look at the basket all night. When the Blazers set their high pick and roll sets the off defender collapsed up on the guards and forced numerous turnovers. The wing defenders also collapsed on the man that rolled to the basket and took away that passing lane.
The Warriors made life hell for the Blazers all night.
Both Dame and CJ looked dead tired in the fourth quarter and they couldn’t muster enough to get the Blazers over the top, and by mid-fourth quarter they were done. The Warriors ran away with it. Terry Stotts needs to figure out a way to get CJ and Dame open. Then CJ and Dame need to knock down those shots. For the Blazers to compete in this series the guard play needs to be about equal.
Zach Collins and Rodney Hood were more or less nonexistent in this game. Both had a coming out series against Denver and on Tuesday night they were slow on their rotations and their shots were off. Collins, who has been a big ball of energy of the bench, was two steps slow all night. His defensive rotations were poor and he did a lot of walking on the offensive end. Nothing crisp. He even double-clutched a lot of his open shots and threw off his rhythm.
Hood looked a little slow too, with the knee injury hampering him a little bit. His defense was pretty good though. He’s really stepped up his defensive game since about Game 4 of the Denver series. If he’s healthy I think he’s earned himself a starting spot over Al-Farouq Aminu.
By no means is the series over after a single game, with at least two (ideally three) to play at the Moda Center. And yet, after Tuesday’s win, you can’t help but acknowledge how steep of an uphill battle this will be for the Blazers, as it appears as though the Warriors are now a heavy favorite rather than just a favorite.
But one thing we’ve learned this postseason is to not count the Blazers out yet. They’ve been dead numerous times since March and are one of the last four teams playing this season.