Without NBA postseason leading scorer Kevin Durant (calf strain) or center DeMarcus Cousins (quadriceps tear), the Golden State Warriors claimed the Game 2 Western Conference Finals victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on their home floor. Unlike in Game 1, however, the win was not so much of a sure thing.

Late in the second quarter, the Warriors found themselves down 17 points courtesy of a three-pointer from Portland’s Seth Curry. Golden State did not come out hot in the third quarter — a period of the game when the team often slips into a slump. But after five minutes, the Warriors had begun to claw their way back in. A Draymond Green layup from an Andre Iguodala assist brought the Warriors to within three points with 7:11 left in the third.

The fourth quarter started with a tie: 89-all. But the Trail Blazers made quick work of pulling away for the lead. With 4:28 left in the contest, a three-pointer from Meyers Leonard put Portland up by eight points. On the next possession, Green made a bucket beneath the basket to close the Warriors’ gap to six points.

From there, each team made a defensive stance that would keep the score stuck at 108-102 for more than a minute, with Warriors guard Stephen Curry and Blazers guard C.J. McCollum both missing shots. Seth Curry committed a shooting foul on Kevon Looney, sending Looney to the line, who missed his first attempt from the charity stripe but banked the second — shaking the score loose.

108-103, Blazers.

Powered by the experience of postseason winning and an unforgiving defense, Golden State stayed the course. With 52.9 seconds left in the game, Looney slammed an alley-oop dunk on an assist from Green for the one-point Warriors lead. With 12.3 seconds remaining, a defensive board from Klay Thompson generated offense for Green in the form of a layup.

114-111, Warriors.

But the deal was not sealed until 2016 Finals MVP Andre Iguodala blocked a Damian Lillard three-point shot attempt with 4.1 seconds remaining. Iguodala also grabbed a defensive rebound and held the ball until the game clock ran out — giving the Warriors the 2-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals and pummeling the Trail Blazers into probable dejection.

The series swings to Portland’s Moda Center for Game 3. Can the Trail Blazers overcome the demoralization of letting a 17-point lead slip away against the champs and get a win on their home floor?

Tipoff for Game 3 is Saturday, May 18, at 9:00 p.m. ET on ESPN.

 



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