There was no worse way to lose game 2. Portland led by 15 at halftime. They played inspired defense in the first half. They looked like the team they needed to be to beat the Warriors. But, it all fell apart in the second half, and the Blazers lost a painfully close game to the Warriors 114-111 Thursday evening. Just three points.
Down the rabbit hole, the Trail Blazers go, trailing 0-2 in a series that had every chance to be competitive. But, they didn’t show up in game 1 and they threw away game 2. What makes it so frustrating is…they could could have won both games. The Warriors are not as good as they are made out to be. They are missing Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins. The opportunity is there and the Blazers have failed to take it.
On a night where the Blazers held Stephen Curry to 28% shooting from three and forced him to commit 6 turnovers, and Klay Thompson shot a lowly 36% from the field, there is no excuse for the Blazers to have lost. The Blazers shot 50% from three in the first half. They won the turnover battle in the first half. They hit twice as many threes as the Warriors in the game. Seth Curry had his best performance as a Blazer netting 16 points, hitting four threes, to go with four steals on the other end. He propelled the Blazers. He gave them his all. And for naught. His brother gets the last laugh again. And he did, in his post game interview.
The Blazers gave this one up, they had the Warriors against the ropes. They could have gone home with home court advantage over the champs, with a chance to build a lead in this series, with a home-stand. Instead they are 0-2. Now they have to claw and scratch in the hopes they don’t swept on their home court. They have to show there is a reason why they are here in the western conference finals. That they deserve to be here. They haven’t shown it yet.
The Blazers are one of the remaining top 4 teams. They are supposed to be one one of the best. If they allow the Warriors to sweep them, to dance over them, then all that will be said of this postseason, is that they had an easy path. That they beat a reckless Thunder team who’s star players were injured (Both Westbrook and George underwent surgiers after being eliminated by Portland). That Denver was young and inexperienced. That upon facing the real deal, they floundered. They showed their true colors.
The Trail Blazers need to act now. They need to come back to Portland and not only beat the Warriors in both games, but pummel them into submission. Trounce them so bad, that when the series returns to the Oracle arena, that they are deathly afraid. Force them to take you seriously Portland. Force them to see you as a true competitor not as some mediocre second rate team that got lucky to get the western conference finals.
After game 2, Kevin Durant laughed with Draymond Green about Portland. “The finals? They ain’t looking to go there,” he said. He tweeted the video and deleted it hours later. Portland should ponder on his words. Maybe he is right. Maybe Portland doesn’t have the mettle to go there. Maybe they aren’t good enough to win this series. Maybe the injuries are too much. Maybe the fasting of Enes Kanter has taken it’s toll, with all the games being held in the daylight. His momentary kryptonite. Or maybe not. Maybe they have something left. If the Blazers don’t believe this is over,
they should write Durant’s words on the dry erase board in the home team locker room at the Moda Center before game 3. They should read it together. Read it aloud. Look at it as they prepare themselves for the game. Allow it to motivate and energize them for the remained of the series. If the Warriors will not respect you. If the NBA will not respect you. Make them.