Portland’s Nurkic out Game 2, Warriors’ Durant questionable

Portland Trail Blazers forward Al-Farouq Aminu, center, shoots between Golden State Warriors center JaVale McGee, left, and forward Kevin Durant (35) during the first half of Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, April 16, 2017. As the Warriors displayed in Game 2, Durant doesn’t seem all that necessary to beat a hobbled Trail Blazers team.

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The Golden State Warriors and the Portland Trailblazers duke it out in Game 3 at the Moda Center on Saturday night. The 10th-year veteran and 2014 MVP missed 19 games this season with a knee injury, returning to play in his team’s final three games of the regular season.

Matt Barnes is also out with a foot sprain, and Shaun Livingston will also skip the game due to a hand contusion. Golden State is 68-15 overall, 37-5 at home and 40-40-3 against the spread.

Led by Durant’s performance, the Warriors cruised to a 121-109 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1 of their first-round series in front of the usual sold out crowd at Oracle Arena. He was good, often scoring 30-plus points, but he started to wear down as the playoffs went on and you could tell he wasn’t playing at full capacity in the finals. He doesn’t have a prominent role in this series thanks to a hard matchup against the 3-point-happy Rockets, who spread the floor and force the Thunder to go small. We just kind of let it happen and see how the game goes.

JaVale McGee, 29, came to play during game two of the NBA Playoffs, April 19! He threw down an alley-oop dunk from Curry on his first possession, and completed two more alley-oops in the next three minutes.

“We have confidence. We have had to play without KD for a lot of games earlier so we are used to it.

Speaking of that, I have a little calf injury”, he said. But the fact that he stayed prepared, stayed ready and then really defended well – I thought his defense was excellent.

Golden State head coach, Steve Kerr needed the substitutes to step up in this game and that is exactly what they did. The Warriors would add three more points to their lead through the remainder of the frame and hold a 33-17 lead at the end of one. Damian Lillard scored 34 points on 26 shots, and C.J. McCollum put up 41 points on 16-of-28 shooting. “So hopefully I see how I feel these next couple days”. The center had 6 big first quarter points to set the tone and was constantly winning position underneath the hoop.

STANDOUT PERFORMER: The Warriors received outstanding play from all their big men, but the key points of this game were decorated with McGee’s fingerprints.

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Lillard and McCollum should bounce back in Game 3 to put up their typical scoring numbers, and maybe without Durant plus another cold shooting night from the Warriors backcourt, Portland could keep Game 3 interesting.

Jeff Chiu  AP