Warriors fans have their brooms out in anticipation of a series sweep when Golden State and the Trail Blazers clash at Moda Center in Game 4 on Monday night (10:30 p.m. ET).
The Golden State Warriors came back to beat the Portland Trail Blazers 119-113 in Game 3 of the best-of-seven first-round matchup Saturday night. Trailing 82-66 midway through the third quarter, two-time MVP Steph Curry and company went on a 19-1 run to close the gap. The Warriors are outscoring Portland 61.7 points to 44.7 in the second half this series, and doing so short-handed. For a second straight contest, Golden State was without superstar Kevin Durant, and rotation players Shaun Livingston and Matt Barnes due to injuries.
The surprise absentee in the win was Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. Kerr, who missed nearly half of last season with complications from back surgery, is reportedly having trouble walking and has felt off the entire series. The franchise is not sure what is wrong and is naming the absence an “illness.” Kerr is expected to miss at least the rest of the Trail Blazers’ series.
The Trail Blazers hope to steal at least one game from the Warriors, and might be able to with the return of Jusuf Nurkic. The season-changing center, who averaged a double-double since his trade, played 16:40 minutes Saturday, scoring two points and yanking down 11 rebounds. It was his first game action in nearly a month since fracturing his leg. The big man, who lacks conditioning, will need to turn in 20-plus minutes to make much of an impact next time out.
Golden State’s victory Saturday made it 11-1 SU (6-6 ATS) versus the eighth seed since claiming the top spot for the third straight playoffs. In the last 15 years, one-seeds carrying a 3-0 lead into Game 4 in the first round are 10-2 SU and 7-5 ATS. The average line is -5.8. The betting market were all over the two outright defeats, each coming at the lowest spreads in this scenario (-1 and -4).
Watching the Warriors mount second-half comebacks is becoming routine. They’ve been particularly adept at doing this against Portland in the postseason. In the last eight playoff matchups, the Trail Blazers have tied or led at the half in all but two games. Last game, oddsmakers offered +120 for Portland to take the first half. Look for a similar number here and play it. It’s do-or-die time. Fans and players will have one last gasp left before another late Golden State rally dashes all hope.