The are down (0-1) but not out in their best-of-seven, first-round NBA playoffs series against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday.
The underdog Blazers went toe-to-toe with the Warriors through three quarters behind strong performances from the backcourt duo of CJ McCollum (playoff career-high 41 points, 8 rebounds) and Damian Lillard (34 points), but couldn’t pull off the Game 1 upset in Oakland.
Draymond Green led the way for Golden State with an impactful fourth qaurter and all-around game (19 points, 12 rebounds, 9 assists, 5 blocks, 3 steals), overshadowing big performances from Kevin Durant (32 points, 10 boards) and Stephen Curry (29 points) in the win.
Game 2 is Wednesday.
Here’s a look around the web at the reaction to Game 1 between the Warriors and Blazers:
* Playing the defending Western Conference champs even through three quarters has the Blazers’ confidence high heading into Game 2,
The Trail Blazers have announced their presence in this series. “We are right there,” McCollum told CSNNW. “They know we are coming.” Golden State seized a 1-0 lead on the Blazers in an entertaining and competitive opener on Easter, but for the Warriors it wasn’t without some uneasy moments and some issues that will linger into Wednesday’s Game 2. Portland’s dynamic duo of McCollum (41 points) and Damian Lillard (34 points) had the Warriors scrambling defensively, and if not for a heroic defensive performance by Draymond Green and another uncanny dagger administered by Ian Clark, who knows what kind of David vs. Goliath storylines would be developing out of Game 1.
* Green’s impact in the crucial final 12 minutes:
In a game that featured 15 ties and 22 lead changes, Green reinforced why some consider him the Warriors’ most indispensable player. His all-around dominance in the fourth quarter helped the Warriors turn an 88-88 tie into a runaway victory. Over those final 12 minutes, Green paired 10 points with two steals and three blocks. Portland guards Lillard and C.J. McCollum, who combined for 62 points through three quarters, managed 13 in the fourth.
* the Blazers’ struggles in the fourth quarter:
In reality, this was anything but fun for Lillard & Co.Despite the Blazers’ best attempts, with their special backcourt of Lillard and C.J. McCollum (75 points combined) outplaying the Warriors’ famed Splash Brothers for most of the afternoon (Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 44 points) and the local angst growing when Portland led late in the third quarter, the Warriors unleashed their inner beast when it mattered most. They not only outscored Portland 33-21 while holding them to 7-of-24 shooting in the fourth quarter but also spent the first five minutes turning an 88-88 tie into a 13-point lead without the very superstars who sparked so much jealousy among their peers this season.
* the magnificence of Green on one end, and McCollum and Lillard on the other:
Lillard and backcourt mate CJ McCollum gave the Warriors a rude early reminder that they are indeed facing a force to be reckoned with. The two combined for 48 points in the first half, the most they’ve ever scored together in a half. McCollum was especially impressive, as he hit shots from a variety of angles and against converging closeouts.
While also noting that while the Blazers’ star backcourt rose to the occasion, Blazers not named McCollum or Lillard failed to make an impact:
Perhaps, for all of Lillard’s confidence and for all of his and McCollum’s brilliance, this speaks to the gap between the teams as nothing else does. Blazers not named CJ or Damian went 3-for-16 with five turnovers in the first half.
* that not only was Green a reason the Warriors pulled it out in Game 1, he was the reason:
It’s supremely easy to call that an overreaction or a hot take in the aftermath of the Warriors’ 121-109 victory Sunday over Portland, especially considering the fact that the Blazers had a 109.9 offensive rating per 100 possessions headed into the fourth quarter, and were tied with the mighty Dubs. But sometimes great defensive games come against incredible offensive onslaughts, and that was the case here. The Golden State Warriors, despiteKevin Durant’s 32 points and Curry’s 29, would have lost Game 1 had it not been for Green, and what, specifically, he does for Golden State defensively.
* Kevin Durant passed with flying colors in his first playoff game with the Warriors,
The Blazers became the first postseason students of what Durant’s addition means to the Warriors’ ability to confront and escape a tough challenge. They managed to keep pace for three quarters with brilliant offensive performances by Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, but Golden State simply had too much in the end. When the Warriors finally broke things open a bit and Durant started making shots, Portland couldn’t answer. Asked if he thought the Warriors were a better team than last year by adding Durant, Blazers coach Terry Stotts said they will ultimately be judged by the end result. “But I think their ability to score this year with Durant has taken a load off of some of the other guys,” Stotts said. “This team will make its mark in the playoffs, and certainly with Durant it’s a different dimension than last year.”