NBA PLAYOFFS: McGee Commands The Stage, Golden State Warriors Win Without Durant
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Oakland, Calif. – Compared to Game 1 of the First Round at the Oracle, the landscape was extremely different for the Golden State Warriors for the second game in the series.
Shaun Livingston, Matt Barnes, and Kevin Durant were missing with various injuries. Durant, who missed 19 regular-season games with a left knee injury, was out against Portland Trail Blazers with a strained left calf muscle.
It didn’t matter. Eight-year veteran JaVale McGee picked up the slack and the Warriors took Game 2 with a decisive 110-81 victory over Portland. McGee had 15 points, five rebounds, four blocked shots, and one steal in 13 minutes off the bench.
“He’s energy is great,” said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. “His length, his ability to catch that lob and be a presence around the rim. JaVale has given us great minutes in that role. He’s still able to cover smaller players and be a force.”
Stephen Curry had 19 points, six assists, six rebounds, and four steals for the Warriors (2-0). Klay Thompson had 16 points and two assists while Draymond Green added six points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists, and three blocked shots.
Golden State made 40-of-91 shots from the field at 44 percent, but held the Warriors to 30-for-90 shots from the floor at 33.3 percent. The Warriors also outrebounded the Trail Blazers 54-47.
“At first, I was thinking to myself how we played such a great Game 1 and gave ourselves a great chance to start with but didn’t play a great game in the first half,” said Portland point guard Damian Lillard, who ended up with 12 points after a 34-point effort in Game 1. “They got away from us and we made it hard on ourselves. You can’t get too emotional or too low about the kind of game we played tonight.”
Patrick McCaw started in place of Durant. Before the game started, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said it was probably good that his team played all those games without Durant. For all intended purposes, Durant’s absence was not a factor.
Overall, both the Warriors and Trail Blazers have been playing small ball in the first two contests. It’s just that The Warriors are proving to be better at the strategy. McCaw had nine points and five rebounds and Ian Clark added 13 points. Eleven players scored for Golden State.
“Steph didn’t have a huge game, I didn’t have a huge game, and Klay didn’t have a huge game,” Green said. “Yet, we were able to put the game together that we did tonight. You know it’s a testament to that depth.
Draymond Green, left, and JaVale McGee, right, after Game 2 at the Oracle. Publicity Agents photo art by T. Ray Harvey. April 19, 2017.
After the game was tied 9-9 in the first quarter, the Warriors mounted a 20-6 run topped off with a dunk by JaVale McGee with 2:28 remaining. Klay Thompson, who had 15 points in Game 1, ended with eight points in the first quarter.
The Warriors led 33-17 going into the second quarter with unsung heroes McGee and Zaza Pachulia with scoring six points each. The Warriors made 13-of-22 shots from the floor in the first 12 minutes.
The baffled Trail Blazers were 6-for-22 from the field but were not deep in the red for long. The Trail Blazers came back to cut the Warriors lead 43-42, but the Warriors outscored Portland 12-4 from there to lead 55-46 at the break.
McGee made all of his six shots, mostly dunks, for 13 points in the first half. He also accounted for three alley-oop dunks in the first quarter and three blocked shots and one steal in eight minutes.
In the third quarter, McGee’s seventh basket, an 180-layup, gave the Warriors a 73-52 lead at the 4:23 mark. At this point, Portland just fell apart. Golden State built up a 25-point lead on their way to an 83-58 margin in three quarters.
In the fourth quarter, the Trail Blazers never recovered and the Warriors hd zoomed up to a (32) point lead. CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard combined for 75 points in the first game. But in Game 2, Golden State held the duo to a total of 23 points.
McGee, who lived in nearby Sacramento and attended the University of Nevada-Reno for two years, has made 10-of-11 shots from the field in two games. He has a total of 21 points and six blocked shots in a total of 23 minutes.
“That’s my whole thing. I just want to be efficient out there,” McGee said. “I don’t try to do too much and I just try to do what’s necessary for me in the minutes that I’m out there. I feel like I’m doing a good job of that.”
Game 3 is on Wednesday, April 22, at 7:30 p.m., PST, in Portland.
By T. Ray Harvey | PA Public Information Officer and Photographic Artist
Twitter: Tony Ray Harvey @PublicityAgents
WARRIORS: The Warriors have won 11 straight-home games against the Trail Blazers in the regular season and playoffs.Klay Thompson has 65 career-playoff games, one shy of matching Rick Barry for the second on the franchise’s all-time postseason games list.
TRAIL BLAZERS: Jusuf Nurkic remained sidelined for Portland. Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts did say he expects the 7-foot center to play in the series.
T. Ray (Antonio) Harvey is a Public Information Officer and Photographic Artist for Publicity Agents. Harvey is also the author of