Monte Poole

Sources: In agony, Kerr had difficult time keeping up with Warriors' Game 3 win

Sources: In agony, Kerr had difficult time keeping up with Warriors' Game 3 win

PORTLAND -- Steve Kerr was in such agony Saturday that he found little comfort even while watching from the team hotel as his Warriors pulled out a playoff victory over Trail Blazers, multiple sources told NBCSportsBayArea.com.

The pain is so intense that Kerr even had difficulty keeping up with the game. Moreover, it may be a while before he’s able to return to full-time coaching duties.

Assistant Mike Brown served as acting head coach in a 119-113 win over Portland in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series.

“He’s obviously going through a lot physically,” Stephen Curry said of Kerr after the game, “and that’s first and foremost for him to take care of himself, make sure he’s on the road to recovery and feeling like himself.”

Kerr was in obvious discomfort Friday, when he met with the media for his post-practice news conference. Though he made the flight to Oregon with the team Friday afternoon, he was not able to attend shootaround Saturday morning. It was the second time this season that Kerr missed a shootaround, the first coming March 2 in Chicago.

By Saturday afternoon, the Warriors were announcing he would not coach Game 3.

It was not a great surprise to those who work closely with Kerr.

“He’s suffering,” said one person close to Kerr.

“He hadn’t been feeling well for a couple days, so I knew it would be a possibility,” Brown said before the game.

Kerr continues to cope with debilitating side effects from multiple back surgeries in the summer of 2015. He took a leave of absence last season, missing nearly all of training camp and the first 43 games of the regular season before returning.

Both the symptoms have persisted. Kerr still cannot do many of the things he loves, he acknowledged to NBCSportsBayArea.com, such as play golf. Though his back is somewhat improved, he still experiences severe headaches and neck pain.

The worst part about the discomfort is its consistency. It’s nagging at him every day and night, sometimes more severe than others.

It has gotten worse in recent days, though. It is conceivable, even likely, according to those close to Kerr, that he will miss Game 4 Monday night.

Instant Replay: Warriors battle Blazers, take commanding 3-0 series lead

Instant Replay: Warriors battle Blazers, take commanding 3-0 series lead

BOX SCORE

PORTLAND -- Head coach Steve Kerr didn’t show and All-Star forward Kevin Durant didn’t play.

Neither did Shaun Livingston or Matt Barnes.

No matter. Trailing by as much as 17 before a surging Trail Blazers team and a thunderous sellout crowd at Moda Center, the Warriors found their way to a 119-113 victory in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series Saturday night.

The Warriors can close out the series with a win in Game 4 here on Monday night.

With assistant coach Mike Brown serving as acting head coach in the absence of an ill Kerr, five Warriors scored in double figures, led by Stephen Curry’s 34 points. Klay Thompson put in 24, Andre Iguodala 16, JaVale McGee 14 and Pat McCaw 11.

The Warriors overcame a 16-point third-quarter deficit and a 52-42 rebounding disadvantage with a single, searing stretch of defense in the third quarter, when they limited Portland to 30.4-percent shooting.

Guards CJ McCollum, who totaled 32 points, and Damian Lillard, who posted 31, led the Trail Blazers.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

As crucial to the comeback as was the offensive reemergence of Curry and Thompson, nobody did more good things over different portions of the game than did McGee.

McGee’s line: 14 points (6-of-8 shooting from the field, 2-of-2 from the line), four rebounds and one steal. He played 16 minutes and finished a game-high plus-24.

TURNING POINT

Trailing 82-66 after a Lillard finger roll with 6:20 left in the third quarter, the Warriors rumbled back with a 19-1 run, taking an 85-83 lead when McGee slammed through a lob with 2:01 left in the quarter.

The Warriors during that stretch held Portland to 0-of-8 shooting, with three turnovers.

INJURY UPDATE

Warriors: F Matt Barnes (R foot/ankle bone bruise), F Kevin Durant (L calf strain) and G Shaun Livingston (R index finger sprain and hand contusion) were listed as questionable and downgraded to out. F Kevon Looney (L hip strain) is listed as out.

Blazers: G Allen Crabbe (L foot soreness) and G CJ McCollum (R ankle sprain) were listed as probable and upgraded to available. C Jusuf Nurkic (L leg fracture) was listed as doubtful and upgraded to available. C Ed Davis (L shoulder surgery) and C Festus Ezeli (L knee surgery) were listed as out.

WHAT’S NEXT

The teams reconvene Monday night at Moda Center for Game 4. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Nurkic's size can present problem for Warriors: 'He’s a legit scoring threat'

Nurkic's size can present problem for Warriors: 'He’s a legit scoring threat'

Programming note: Warriors-Blazers Game 3 coverage starts Saturday night at 6:30pm with Warriors Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area, and streaming live right here.

PORTLAND -- The Warriors haven’t had to contend with a legitimate center at any point through the first two games of their playoff series with the Trail Blazers. That will change in Game 3.

Portland center Jusuf Nurkic, who missed the first two games while recovering from a fractured right leg, will be in the starting lineup. The Blazers made the announcement about 90 minutes before tipoff.

Nurkic has the ability to be a difference-maker for Portland, certainly enough to diminish the chances of the Warriors hiking their 2-0 series lead to 3-0.

After arriving Feb. 13 in a trade with Denver, Nurkic was a key contributor during a dazzling stretch run that landed the Blazers in the playoffs. They were 14-5 with the 7-foot “Bosnian Beast” in the starting lineup.

“He’s a big body that they can throw the ball to in the low post,” acting head coach Mike Brown said. “He’s a legit scoring threat. Not only that, he’s involved in a lot of their pick-and-rolls. He’s great after setting that screen -- it’s a big screen that he sets -- and he’s great rolling to the rim. So he puts a lot of pressure on your back side defensively.”

“He can be a handful.”

The Warriors exploited Portland’s lack of size in Game 2, as centers Zaza Pachulia, JaVale McGee and David West combined for 33 points over 44 minutes against the likes of Meyers Leonard, Noah Vonleh and Al-Farouq Aminu -- none of whom are natural centers.

Portland’s centers aside from Nurkic, Ed Davis and Festus Ezeli, have not played in the series and are out with season-ending injuries.