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Hope Is Slipping Away for the Trail Blazers

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On Thursday, the Blazers actively tried to put the clamps on Curry by trapping, switching and hedging on screens — and whenever they were a step slow or gave Curry too much daylight, Stotts let his players know about it. In the first quarter, he called a timeout just so he could reprimand Leonard for allowing Curry an open 3-pointer (which he buried).

Curry wound up struggling from 3-point range, shooting 4 of 14. But by pressuring Curry along the perimeter, the Blazers sacrificed some help defense in the paint. Curry took advantage by getting to the basket. He finished with 37 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists. So what are the Blazers supposed to do now? Neither strategy has been particularly effective.

“Steph is going to be Steph,” Warriors forward Kevon Looney said. “He’s going to take big shots and make shots.”

As for Lillard, nothing came easily. He shot 6 of 16 from the field against a steady diet of taller, rangier defenders. Klay Thompson, Alfonzo McKinnie and Iguodala were among the players who took turns on him. In the first half, Lillard made three field goals, and they were all 3-pointers from outer space: 32, 33 and 27 feet. It somehow got worse for him in the second half when Looney pounced on his back as they grappled for a loose ball. Lillard came up clutching his side.

“It didn’t affect my game,” Lillard said. “When you’re out there, you’re out there. There ain’t really no excuse.”

The Warriors are doing their damage without Durant, who injured his right calf against the Houston Rockets in the conference semifinals — and his return is not imminent. The team announced before Thursday’s game that he would not make the trip to Portland for Games 3 and 4, and that he would be evaluated again in a week.

“We’re confident we can win, but we would much rather have him playing,” Curry said. “So we’re going to hold the fort down until he gets back and go win another championship with our full squad.”


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