Western Conference Finals: Game 2 (Warriors lead 2-0)
3. Portland Trail Blazers (111) – 2. Golden State Warriors (114)
Ever since Kevin Durant went down with an injured calf, the Warriors have had to adjust their playing style. It’s hard not to when one of the best players (if not the best) is suddenly removed from your system. Durant has been downright dominant in these Playoffs, at times single-handedly carrying Golden State to wins.
With him gone, the Warriors have had to go back to their war chest and put on a familiar armor. They’re been playing Warriors basketball circa 204-2016, the pre-KD era. That brand of basketball was at its peak in the second half of Game 2 against the Blazers.
The first and most obvious characteristic of old-school Warriors basketball is the dominance of the Splash Brothers. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson beat out Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum to win Game 2.
McCollum torched the Warriors in the first half, leading the Blazers to a 15-point lead. Lillard kept the Blazers alive in the second half when McCollum was checked. None of that mattered. Curry and Thompson finished with a combined 61 points on eight made three-pointers to lead the Warriors to the win.
Which leads me to the next trait of pre-KD Warriors basketball, the epic third quarter tsunami.
Down by 15, it looked like the Blazers were in full control of the game. But this is Golden State. 15-point leads can be erased in a snap. Which is exactly what Curry and Thompson did as soon as the third quarter started. The Splash Brothers led the Warriors on a very quick comeback, scoring 13 unanswered points to get back in the game.
— NBA (@NBA) May 17, 2019
Another check on the old school Warriors box is the underrated impact of Andre Iguodala.
With the arrival of Durant and even DeMarcus Cousins this season, Iguodala got lost in the shuffle. With five All-Stars on board, the Warriors Death Line-up looked very different from before.
But with Durant and Cousins out of the Playoffs, the Warriors have leaned on Iguodala’s timeless game once again. Iggy doesn’t need to put up big numbers to have a huge impact on the game. In Game 2 he only had four points and five boards. But without him the Warriors would probably have not won the game.
The Warriors were up by just three points and were up against a certified killer in Lillard. So they used their best defensive player to snuff out the game-tying attempt. Just like he’s done countless of times before, Iggy stripped Lillard in the final seconds of the game to seal Golden State’s win.
This was a huge win for Golden State. Heading to Portland with a loss on the deck would have been tough, especially without Durant. Now, they have a two-game cushion and aren’t facing a ton of pressure to win both away games.
— ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) May 17, 2019
The Warriors have found an answer to what could be a KD-less series. Get back to their roots and play old school Golden State basketball.
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