I forgot there was a Warriors game last night, so we left for home too late and missed most of the first quarter in Game 2 of the series against Portland. The Warriors were behind by double digits by the time we found the game on TV, near the end of the first quarter. Portland was playing great, very much in the style of the Warriors, making lots of 3's, moving the ball really well. Portland was ahead by 13 points at the end of the first quarter and this game was not in Portland, so if they could steal a game in Oakland it would be a big deal.
I wasn't too worried, even though Curry is injured and has missed a few games. I told my wife it would be okay. The Portland team was playing great, but "they can't do it for four quarters!"
They did it for three quarters. They were ahead by 13 at the end of the first quarter, by 8 at half-time and 11 at the end of the third quarter. It would have been only an 8 point lead at that point, but Portland's best shooter got off a 3-pt shot just a second or less before the buzzer sounded to end that quarter.
The Warriors had struggled all game long without their MVP, Curry. But they have one other advantage over other teams, the best coach in the NBA, Steve Kerr. Near the end of the third quarter, Kerr brought in Festus Ezeli to play center. He had not played at all in Game 1 of this series and very little in the Houston series, but Kerr had told him to stay ready, his time would come. This was his time.
As soon as he stepped onto the floor, Ezeli made a huge difference and afterwards Kerr said he saw "phenomenal effort from Fezzy to really change the game.” The Warriors were down by ten when Ezeli came in with 4:09 left in the third quarter. He played for thirteen minutes and when he came out they were ahead by three points, never to trail again in the game.
In the fourth quarter, the Warriors scored 34 points. Portland scored 12 points, losing the game by 11. They couldn't do it for four quarters.
But in Game 3, Portland was able to do it for four quarters. And in Game 4 they were able to do it for four quarters (to a tie), but not in overtime, when Curry scored seventeen points! :basketball: