The Portland Trail Blazers have been the sleepers in these playoffs, they were the underdogs in the first round against the Thunder and they barely beat the Nuggets in a crucial Game 7. Now in the Conference Finals, they are against a different beast that really likes to play team basketball. The Blazers are turning this year into the new Rockets, too many iso plays being made. This isolation technique has been seen before in the last games against Denver in the second round of the playoffs.
Portland had the easiest way to get to these finals, facing a weak OKC and a inexperienced Denver. This may be a good thing at first, but your gameplan can be screwed when facing tough teams. And that’s the problem they are facing right now with the Warriors. You can go and win the first two round with easy teams, but if you come with that same mentality to a Conference Final, you better believe you’re not going to win.
They need a third option, someone to step up besides Lillard and McCollum, to get this win in Game 3. Kanter and Aminu in games 1 and 2 had combined 26 points so they are obviously not showing up in what’s left of the series. Harkless has scored well in both games, but he is not the spark they are looking for. If I were coach Stotts, I would look for Rodney Hood to serve as an impact for Game 3. They went with him in that thriller game versus Denver and he showed up nicely. He scored well too in the first games, but he has to do a little bit of everything in order to be impactful. All in all, you can have that third option be your spark plug for Game 3, but if don’t have Lillard and McCollum your toasted.
Both Lillard and McCollum have been a no-show the first games against the Warriors. Lillard in the first two games of this series has shot a total of 36% from the field, and McCollum 38%. These guys have to learn that against a backcourt like Curry and Thompson, you can’t shoot these types of percentages. Especially when you are facing a Golden State team without Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins. If Lillard doesn’t show up tonight, Blazers fans can say goodbye to their season. Stay tuned for tonight’s game between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Golden State Warriors on ESPN.