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Preview: Nurkic or not, here we come

The Golden State Warriors look to go up two games on the Portland Trail Blazers.

NBA: Playoffs-Portland Trail Blazers at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Game Information

Golden State Warriors (lead 1-0) vs. Portland Trail Blazers

How to watch

Date: Wednesday April 19, 2017

Time: 7:30pm PST

Location: Oracle Arena — Oakland, CA

TV: TNT; CSN Bay Area

Radio: 95.7 THE GAME

Injury report

Last updated 4/18/17

Warriors: Kevon Looney out

Kevin Durant, Shaun Livingston and Matt Barnes questionable

Trail Blazers: Jusuf Nurkic and Tim Quarterman out

Portland’s best shot

In Game 1 of the Golden State Warriors vs. Portland Trail Blazers first round series, Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum came out swinging. McCollum, in particular, was aggressive on both ends of the floor, knocking down shot after shot and making strong defensive plays against both Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry.

The talent of the Portland back court is undeniable and amazing to watch. The Trail Blazers’ starting guards combined for 75 points in that first game and somehow made Curry’s 29 points and Kevin Durant’s 32 points seem relatively quiet. But therein lies the problem for Portland.

The Warriors struggled with turnover problems and a cold Klay Thompson, while Lillard and McCollum lit up the court for the Trail Blazers. But Portland offered little else. For three quarters, the Trail Blazers gave the Warriors their best shot and came away with a tie game at the end of the second and third quarters. Not surprisingly, the Warriors locked down on defense in the fourth and overwhelmed the Trail Blazers for a 12-point victory.

The Warriors proved in Game 1 that they can weather a storm of amazing shots by the Trail Blazers’ dynamic duo. Golden State is constructed in a way that allows Coach Steve Kerr to place unrelenting pressure on an opposing team.

A majority of the time, the Warriors have at least one former MVP on the court in Curry and Durant. And when they’re sitting, a long, rangy defensive unit takes the court and wreaks havoc. Portland simply does not have the ability to face the ceaseless attack of Golden State for a prolonged period of time.

Nurkic or not

Much is made about the injury to Jusuf Nurkic, as it should be since the Trail Blazers have been transformed since he joined the squad. Portland went on an amazing 18-8 run to end the season and capture the eighth seed. The only team with a better record during that stretch — the Warriors.

It’s unclear if or when Nurkic will return, although the Trail Blazers are hoping he will suit up at some point this series. But even if he does tonight, it’s likely not enough for Portland to “shock the world.”

McCollum and Lillard are talented enough to win a game on their own backs. And if Nurkic can play at close to full strength in this series, he could help the Trail Blazers take another.

At this point, however, the Warriors are just too good of a team for the Trail Blazers to win this series. But if Durant and Shaun Livingston are indeed out for Game 2, it could be just the opportunity Portland needs to grab a game.


Winner: Warriors by 9

High scorer: C.J. McCollum

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