Green steps up in Durant's absence

Golden State's Draymond Green getting in the face of Portland's Damian Lillard in Saturday's Western Conference Finals Game 3. Green was dominant in racking up his seventh career post-season triple-double.
Golden State's Draymond Green getting in the face of Portland's Damian Lillard in Saturday's Western Conference Finals Game 3. Green was dominant in racking up his seventh career post-season triple-double.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Golden State star's triple-double puts team in driver's seat for fifth straight NBA Finals

PORTLAND • Kevin Durant might not be on the court, but the Golden State Warriors are still getting his kind of output in their play-off series against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Only that it is coming from Draymond Green.

He recorded his seventh career post-season triple-double with 20 points, 12 assists and 13 rebounds, while fellow All-Star Stephen Curry saved 21 of his game-high 36 points for the second half on Saturday as the visitors rallied to stun the hosts 110-99 for a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals.

The two-time defending National Basketball Association champions, who have been without the injured pair of Durant and DeMarcus Cousins for the entire series, will go for the sweep today (tomorrow morning, Singapore time) in Portland, as they seek to book their fifth consecutive NBA Finals appearance.

They will likely have to do it without Andre Iguodala, who left the game in the third quarter with soreness in his left leg. The forward, who had two points and five rebounds, was not missed for the final 20 minutes of Game 3, however, thanks in large part to Green.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr was at a loss at how destructive his "wrecking ball" was, saying: "It's one of the best games I've ever seen Draymond play.

"I don't even know what to say. He's destroying everything in his path. He played at an incredible pace. He never got tired."

 

  • GREEN'S TRIPLE-DOUBLE

    20

    POINTS

    13

    REBOUNDS

    12

    ASSISTS

His defence, led by Green, never let up all night, holding the Blazers to 33 points in the second half after they had put up 66 in the first two periods. For the second straight game, Golden State dominated the third quarter to recover after trailing by double digits at half-time.

Down by 13 at the break and 73-59 four minutes into the third quarter after a three-pointer by Meyers Leonard, Kerr's players used an 18-3 flurry to take their first lead of the game at 77-76 with 1min 54sec left in the period.

Six Warriors contributed points to the run, including Klay Thompson, who had six and 19 overall.

Of the second-half push, Kerr said: "We've been down in many games. Our guys know we have an excellent defensive scheme and we have explosive scorers.

"Thirteen points could be two or three minutes, that's how we look at it. It all started with our second-half defence."

Blazers coach Terry Stotts, whose team were paced by 23 points from guard C. J. McCollum, also admitted their "offence fell apart" in the face of sustained Warriors pressure.

He said: "We missed some shots. Took some tough shots. Didn't move the ball as well. They were scoring, so we were taking it out of the net (and we) didn't get any transition.

"I said at the beginning of the series, 'To beat Golden State, you've got to be able to score'. Scoring 33 points in the second half isn't going to do it."

No team have ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win in the post-season, which means Portland are up against history to make the NBA Finals for the first time since 1992.

Their roster is also suffering from injuries, with centre Enes Kanter playing through a separated shoulder, while sports website The Athletic and ESPN reported that All-Star guard Damian Lillard has been dealing with separated ribs since Game 2.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 20, 2019, with the headline 'Green steps up in Durant's absence'. Print Edition | Subscribe