The Trail Blazers came into Tuesday and the start of the western conference finals against the Warriors without much of a plan. They didn’t hold a practice Monday, the day before. They didn’t have a shoot around preceding the game. They instead opted to rest, coming off a quick turn around from game 7 against the Nuggets. The decision was costly. The Blazers lost 116-94 to the Warriors and go down 0-1 in the series.
If the Blazers did have a scheme for game 1, it was let Stephen Curry shoot. Not wise. He got seven wide open shots. He scored 36 to lead his team to victory. The Warriors were allowed again and again to easily implement the pick and roll with Kanter not coming out to contest Curry’s shots.
The Trail Blazers played sloppy joe basketball. Damian Lillard had 6 turnovers, giving the ball up on errant pass after errant pass, throwing it blindly behind him only to have it stolen by Warriors players. Speaking of turnovers, the Blazers had 21, 13 in the first half. Out of those 21 turnovers the Warriors scored 31 points.
This game was a self inflicted eye sore. Till late in the fourth it felt winnable. The Blazers were for the most part in striking distance. They led early in the opening quarter 5-0 before the Warriors took the lead and kept it. The Blazers tied the game twice after that then got back within 4 before the Warriors went up nine at halftime.
Golden State built their lead to 17 and the Blazers cut it to six going into the fourth. But, the Blazers couldn’t overcome their own mistakes. Everyone was having a bad shooting night. The Blazers together shot on 36% from the field and 25% from three.
It was hoped that Aminu would have a better time against the warriors. He has historically played better against them than the Nuggets. He was the same Aminu from the last series, fumbling the ball, missing wide open threes. Enes Kanter had a double double with 10 points and 16 rebounds, but his defense was atrocious. He often stared off into space as opponents scored around him. Lillard and McCollum struggled shooting a combined 11 for 31 from the field and 3 of 10 from three.
It’s aggravating because the Blazers were in this game. Watching, one had the feeling that if Dame and CJ had showed up, and the Blazers stopped with the shenanigans they could have stolen game 1 of the western conference finals. They won the rebounding battle. They had more points in the paint. Instead they are down 0-1.
The Blazers will practice today. They will look at video. They will hopefully, unless they are masochists, plan for guarding Curry. The Blazers need to find themselves offensively in game #2. Cut down turnovers off of errant passes and lazy play. Sop with the hesitation. The Blazers have a chance in this series, especially without Kevin Durant. They have to stop squandering opportunity.