Draymond Green (17 points, 14 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 blocks, 1 steal) proved why he’s the real MVP of the Golden State Warriors as the reigning NBA champions outlasted Portland Trailblazers 110-99 Tuesday to take a 2-0 series lead in the Western Conference semifinals.
In the absence of Stephen Curry, Warriors took care of business despite trailing through the first three quarters and the better part of the final quarter until Klay Thompson’s late 3-pointers sealed the deal. Thompson finished with 27 points despite a cold shooting night that saw him go 5/14 from deep. |Final Box Score|
Besides Draymond Green and Thompson, Harrison Barnes (13 points) and Shaun Livingston (14 points) made valuable shots at key junctures. Andre Igudala once again proved his value, finishing with 15 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals from 32 minutes off the bench. Festus Ezili had 8 points and 6 rebounds besides a key blocked shot down the stretch.
After the game, Warriors coach Steve Kerr heaped praise on Ezili for his late contributions. “He changed the whole game with his pick-and-roll defense, his presence around the rim and the energy he gave us. It was a phenomenal effort by Fezzy to change the game,” said Kerr. “As a staff we get a feel for what’s needed. We just try to figure out what’s necessary. We were getting killed defensively and giving up a lot of easy shots, and Festus is obviously very athletic and takes up a lot of space,” added the reigning Coach of the Year.
Mason Plumee’s turnovers
For the Trailblazers, the dynamic backcourt duo of Damian Lillard (25 points, 6 assists) and CJ McCollom (22 points) had stellar shooting nights but didn’t find enough support to sustain a lead. After running away with an early 34-21 lead, the Blazers were firmly in control of the game until the late barrage of three-pointers from the Warriors.
The Blazers didn’t benefit from Mason Plumlee’s late turnovers. Plumlee finished with 6 turnovers.
The series will now shift to Portland for Game 3. Stephen Curry is expected to join Draymond Green & Co.