Durant-less Warriors put the squeeze on Trail Blazers

OAKLAND (California) • Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said on Wednesday that he did not have to implore his guys to ramp up their defensive intensity with star forward Kevin Durant out of the line-up.

They already knew.

The Warriors tightened the defensive screws with Durant on the sidelines with a strained calf, limiting the Portland Trail Blazers to 12 points in a decisive third quarter en route to a runaway 110-81 victory in Game Two of their National Basketball Association Western Conference first-round play-off series.

The teams travel to Portland for the next two meetings in the best-of-seven series, with the Warriors taking a 2-0 lead into Game Three tomorrow. Game Four is set for Monday.

"They know that's what our team is built on," Kerr said of the Golden State defence. "People want to talk about the shooting in the backcourt and all that stuff, but this has been a great defensive team for a while.

  • 33%

    Portland Trail Blazers' shooting percentage as they were restricted by a smothering Golden State Warriors' defence.

"You've got to defend, especially in the play-offs. Our guys understand that's the name of the game."

Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard said: "We didn't look at it as an opportunity with (Durant) not being on the floor.We knew it was going to be tough either way.

"Coming here the first two games, we just wanted to take one. We didn't do that."

Golden State recorded their 11th straight home win over the Trail Blazers, and the 12th win in their last 13 head-to-heads, including a 4-1 triumph in last year's Western semi-finals.

Stephen Curry had 19 points and four steals, and backcourt mate Klay Thompson added 16 points as the Warriors won easily despite scoring 11 fewer points than in their 121-109 win in Game One.

"It's a series and points don't carry over," Lillard said.

"So you can't get too emotional or too low about the kind of game we had tonight."

The game was won on the Warriors' defensive end, where the Trail Blazers were harassed into 33.3 per cent shooting overall and a 7-for-34 night on three-pointers.

The Warriors' 11 blocked shots contributed to the visitors' 30-for-90 night.

"As I said when we started the series, we need to score," Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. "So give them credit for playing well defensively."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 21, 2017, with the headline 'Durant-less Warriors put the squeeze on Trail Blazers'. Print Edition | Subscribe