Warriors' bigs come up huge in Game 2 win over Blazers

Warriors' bigs come up huge in Game 2 win over Blazers

OAKLAND -- Missing Kevin Durant and his 25 or so points, the Warriors knew they’d have to find scoring from other sources, which usually is code for requesting a Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson explosion.

That did not materialize Wednesday night in Game 2 of their first-round series with Portland. Nor did the team’s fourth All-Star and No. 4 scorer, Draymond Green, fill the vacuum.

Where to turn? To the big men, the three-headed behemoth the Warriors spent the regular season leaning on for just about everything except scoring.

They came through. From 6-foot-11 Zaza Pachulia, to 7-foot JaVale McGee to 6-9 David West, the centers carried an uncharacteristically heavy offensive lead in a 110-81 win over the Trail Blazers.

“A lot of people do talk about the four of us,” Green said. “But one thing that's constant in this organization is everybody, the strength in the numbers, the depth that we rely on so heavily throughout the course of the year and through the Playoffs. And it's showing up tonight.”

The three centers combined for 33 points on 15-of-20 shooting from the field, 10 rebounds, five blocked shots and four assists over a total of 44 minutes. Anytime the Warriors can get that kind of production from Pachulia, McGee and West, it almost doesn’t matter if anyone else has a big offensive night.

“Zaza got us off to a really good start,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “He made a big impact and then JaVale came in and followed that up with high energy. It was a weird first half. We went into halftime up nine without Steph and Klay really shooting the ball well.”

The Warriors were up nine at the half largely because that’s when McGee scored 13 of his 15 points, accomplished on 7-of-7 shooting. He was the only Warrior with more than 8 points. Pachulia scored 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting and West added 8 on 3-of-5 shooting.

They took full advantage of a Blazers team without its starting center, Jusuf Nurkic, and also with its two other natural centers, Ed Davis and Festus Ezeli, also sidelined.

The Warriors needed such massive numbers from unusual producers because Curry totaled 19 points on 6-of-18, Thompson 16 points on 6-of-17 shooting and Green 6 points on 1-of-5 shooting.

“Steph didn't have a huge game, I didn't have a huge game, Klay didn't have a huge game,” Green said. “Yet we were able to put the game together that we did tonight.

“It’s a testament to that depth. We won almost by 30 points without anyone having a huge game. But everybody did a little bit of something. That's especially important with KD out. He's such an important and huge force for us.”

Draymond uses expletives in text to Myers, calls Jordan Bell on FaceTime

Draymond uses expletives in text to Myers, calls Jordan Bell on FaceTime

At his introductory press conference on Friday afternoon, Jordan Bell said that he tries to emulate his game after Draymond Green.

He said that he can learn a lot from Draymond.

Then, Warriors GM Bob Myers directed his next words at the newest addition to the team:

[RELATED: Why are Warriors willing to pay for picks? Lacob: 'If you just do the math...']

"Draymond will be a fun challenge for you," Myers said as he laughed and grabbed Bell on the shoulder. "Draymond texted me after I was driving home (following the draft). And he said, 'What the expletive is your problem?' So you can fill in the blank. And then he said, 'I have to hear about this expletive on the internet, you didn't expletive tell me about it?'

"So I couldn't text and drive so I called him and said, 'OK. All right. Calm down.' He said, 'I need his number, I need to talk to him,' so I gave it to Draymond ... he's like our team mom in a way ... you're gonna love playing with him, because to be honest, with Draymond it's about respect ... that's the type of team we have but we feel like that's how you are, too."

So what exactly did Draymond to say the 2016-17 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year?

"So he FaceTime'd me ... and I was with my friends celebrating. I texted the number back and I was like, 'Who is this?' And then he didn't reply, so I called the number and I was like, 'Yo, who is this?'

"And then he was like, 'Yo. I FaceTime'd you. Hang up right now, FaceTime me back, don't call. So I was like, 'Yeah, you're right.' So I hung up and I FaceTime'd him and he didn't answer. And I was like, 'All right.' I was like I should wait a couple seconds, and I waited like five seconds and I called him back on FaceTime.

"He was like, 'Yo, enjoy this night. Celebrate it. It only happens once, but after this night, we have to get back to work. We trying to get rings over here, so be ready for it."

[RELATED: A behind-the-scenes look at Jordan Bell's NBA Draft party]

Other takeaways from the press conference:

- Andre Iguodala is one of Bell's favorite players of all-time
- Kevin Durant texted Bell on Friday to welcome him to the Warriors
- Steve Kerr called Bell after the draft and on Friday
- Steph Curry texted Myers after the Warriors paid the Bulls $3.5 million for the rights to Bell

And, finally:

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Most talked-about draft in perhaps ever delivered one extraordinary thing

Most talked-about draft in perhaps ever delivered one extraordinary thing

The NBA Draft was a resounding success for the chattering classes – that is, until it actually happened, at which point all the potential scenarios were reduced to reality, and as we are coming to learn, nobody much likes reality any more.

After all, what’s more fun – arguing about where Jimmy Butler was going to be traded, or the trade that sent him to Minnesota itself? Let me help you with that – it was the first one.

Before the act, anything is possible, and therefore anything can be suggested. Once the act is completed, though?

Scoreboard. End of discussion. Fun dies. Go home.

Try this is you don't think so:

Fact: Lonzo Ball wants to be a Laker. Hilarious supposition that drives conversation (and drinks) across the nation: What if he doesn’t get to be a Laker and his father pulls his own head off like a champagne cork? Result that ends all discussion: Lonzo Ball is a Laker.

And then it ratchets itself again. Hilarious re-supposition that re-energizes the argumentals: How good will Lonzo Ball be? Result that ends all discussion: How good he actually is. Tie-breaker: His dad pulling his own head off like a champagne cork.

This is how daily fantasy became popular – the creation of a different reality or realities that have nothing to do with the actual games played by the actual people. This is also how esports became a thing – creatures of the imagination fighting other creatures of the imagination over fictional glories.

Hell, it’s why the best day of the college basketball season is the day the 68-team NCAA tournament bracket is filled. The games ruin it by being the definitive word on the bracket.

It is, in short, the triumph of the process over the actual deed – interactive make-believe gone mad.

So it was Thursday night. The most talked-about draft in perhaps ever which delivered one extraordinary thing – the Butler trade to Minnesota rather than Boston or Cleveland. Everything else about the evening was noise signifying chalk. All the players everyone thought would go high went high, the ones in the middle were pretty much mid-level draftees, and the bottom twenty were . . . well, what bottom 20 picks usually are: G-Leaguers.

There weren’t any goofy foreigners, no stretches, no spite-filled Kristaps Porzingis trade by a fulminating Phil Jackson. Nobody did anything aggressively stupid or jaw-droppingly brilliant, which without all the pre-draft yelling and screaming would have made this a fairly bland evening.

The lesson, then, is this: In the new world of show-me-something-shiny-right-now, the shiny part of the NBA draft was the run-up. And we love the run-up, almost more than we love the games.

Or maybe we’re just better as a nation at the run-up. The NFL Draft is its own industry, right down to the large-men-running-in-their-underwear degrade-o-thon known as the combine. The NHL this year doubled down with an expansion draft the day before its amateur draft. The pregame show does a better number than the rest of the day, and since the new media truth is that the pregame show is all day, every day, we have hooked ourselves on conversations about what might be and flit about like a hummingbird on Ritalin to the next what-might-be thing.

This preference for the individually tailored virtual universe over the one we all actually live in is not something to be lamented or wept over. It just is, and it will remain that way until the games just wither and die and all there is talking about something that actually will never happen instead of a million things that might.

In that moment, the robots will win. Or more precisely, they’ll get to the round of sixteen, and we can all argue about whether they would be better off meeting the Cylons or the shape-shifters in the regional final.