Coach ill, players out - Warriors soldier on

Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry scoring on a lay-up over Portland's C.J. McCollum. Curry poured in 34 points, with 14 coming in the fourth quarter as the Warriors beat the Trail Blazers 119-113 to take a commanding 3-0 lead in their f
Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry scoring on a lay-up over Portland's C.J. McCollum. Curry poured in 34 points, with 14 coming in the fourth quarter as the Warriors beat the Trail Blazers 119-113 to take a commanding 3-0 lead in their first-round play-off series.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

PORTLAND (Oregon) • The Golden State Warriors entered Saturday's Game Three of their Western Conference first-round play-off series with the Portland Trail Blazers without head coach Steve Kerr. And star forward Kevin Durant. And key reserves Shaun Livingston and Matt Barnes.

But the Warriors still had Stephen Curry and a group of players who got things together defensively in the nick of time in a 119-113 victory over the Blazers.

Curry scored 14 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter - including the Warriors' final nine points of the game - as they rallied from a 16-point, third-quarter deficit to seize a 3-0 lead in the National Basketball Association (NBA) best-of-seven series.

After missing nine of his 14 field-goal attempts in the first half, Curry heated up after the intermission.

"I just stayed aggressive, stayed confident," he said. "You always take shots you think you can make in the flow of the game and live with the results, and you can't get discouraged if you miss.

"You can't get too low, can't get too high. That's my philosophy."

Durant, Livingston and Barnes sat out the game with injuries. Kerr, affected by an undisclosed illness, stayed in his hotel room, and was replaced by lead assistant Mike Brown.

The Warriors made do with what they had, with Curry and Klay Thompson, who scored 14 of his 24 points in the third quarter, leading the way.

C.J. McCollum scored 32 points and Damian Lillard added 31 for the Blazers, who play host to the Warriors in Game Four tonight (tomorrow morning, Singapore time).

Portland shot 53.3 per cent from the field in the first half - eight-for-13 from three-point range but only 33.3 per cent in the second half.

"In the first half, we let (the Blazers) get too comfortable, especially from behind the arc," Brown said. "In the second half, our defence picked up."

The Warriors outscored the Blazers 33-21 in the third quarter and 32-25 in the final period.

"They took it up another level," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. "They defended very well, created turnovers. Our offence stagnated. It's what they do - put a run on you - and we didn't respond well enough."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 24, 2017, with the headline 'Coach ill, players out - Warriors soldier on'. Print Edition | Subscribe