Programming note: Blazers-Warriors Game 2 coverage starts tonight at 6:30pm with Warriors Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area, and streaming live right here.
OAKLAND -- This time, unlike seven weeks ago, the Warriors say they’ll be ready to roll if Kevin Durant can’t.
At least Stephen Curry believes so.
“Obviously, you want to have everybody healthy and we’ll see how it goes (Wednesday),” Curry said. “But we’ve been in this situation very recently, so I understand it’s next man up and the way that we need to play when certain guys are out. And it all starts defensively. Based on our Game 1 win, we need to pick it up on that end anyway.”
Curry was referring to the Warriors, despite a 121-109 Game 1 victory, being scorched by Portland guards CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard, who combined for 75 points.
Curry opened the game defending McCollum, who scored 27 of his 41 points in the first half.
“Dame and CJ really asserted themselves, really gave them a huge boost,” Curry said. “And I know they’ve talked about getting other guys involved. But our game plan stays the same. We’re just trying to make those two guys work, fly around on the defensive end, contest shots, get rebounds and push the tempo. We feel we can do that regardless of the adjustments they want to make.”
Lillard and McCollum accounted for 48 of Portland’s 56 first-half points, equaling the Warriors total for the first two quarters.
"We talked about it last week, leading up to the series. You can’t get discouraged if they do make tough shots. You just have to continue to keep bodies on them, contest shots, try to stay between them and the basket, shade them to the help side.”
With Portland center Jusuf Nurkic out, the Blazers are dependent on their guards, including backup Allen Crabbe, to generate offense. McCollum and Lillard aside, the Blazers shot 12-of-39 (30.8 percent) from the field.
The Warriors have a strategy to contain Lillard and McCollum, and it goes beyond the defense of Curry and Thompson or any other guard.
“They set a lot of high screens, and screen-and-roll defense is about all five guys. It’s not just the guy on the ball,” coach Steve Kerr said. “It’s the guy who’s guarding the screener, and then it’s everybody else on the weak side. So our bigs have to be really active against these guys.”
After losing five of their first seven games after Durant sustained a knee injury on Feb. 28, the Warriors reeled off a 14-game win streak.
The key to the streak? Team defense.