PORTLAND, Ore. — For the second game in a row, the Trail Blazers built a double-digit lead at halftime, only to watch the Warriors walk away with the win, and now Portland is one loss from elimination.
It's been a magical season in Portland, with the Blazers advancing further in these playoffs than almost anyone anticipated. But Portland seems to have run out of answers against a Warriors team that has spent the past few seasons squashing the aspirations of good playoff teams.
On Saturday night, Portland hosted Game 3 of the Western Conference finals, the first time a conference finals game had been played in this city in nearly 20 years. And things got off to a great start for the home team. Behind an inspired first-half performance from surprise starter Meyers Leonard, who finished with a career playoff-high 16 points, the Blazers built a 13-point lead at halftime.
BOX SCORE: Warriors 110, Trail Blazers 99
But just like in Game 2, when the Warriors erased a 15-point Blazers halftime lead in the third quarter, Golden State dominated after halftime. The Warriors outscored the Blazers 29-13 in the decisive third quarter en route to a 110-99 win.
The comeback was spurred by Warriors star forward Draymond Green, who had his seventh career postseason triple-double with 20 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists. "He was a wrecking ball, destroying everything in his path," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of Green after the ball.
VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: Warriors beat Trail Blazers 110-99 in Game 3
In the second half, the Blazers made just 12 of 39 shots (30.8%) and missed 15 of their 20 3-point attempts (25.0%). They also missed seven of their 11 free-throw attempts (36.4%) on a night when they shot 20 of 33 at the free-throw line (60.6%).
"Our offense fell apart," Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said. "We missed some shots. Took some tough shots. Didn't move the ball as well. They were scoring, so we were taking it out of the net. Didn't get any transition. To beat Golden State, you've got to be able to score. Scoring 33 in the second half is not going to do it."
It sets up an elimination game for the Blazers on Monday night at the Moda Center. Win, and the series shifts back to Oakland for Game 5. Lose, and this wonderful, surprising season comes to an end.
No team has ever rallied to win a playoff series after falling behind 3-0, and only three teams facing an 0-3 deficit have pushed the series to seven games.
"We're going to give it our best effort on Monday," Stotts said. "I mean, that's all that matters, is we give it our best effort."
Damian Lillard had 19 points but missed 13 of 18 shots and turned the ball over five times. After the game, multiple reports indicated that Lillard is playing through separated ribs suffered during Game 2 of the Western Conference finals.
Lillard said the team's mindset has to be focused on getting one win.
"It starts with one. You know, we still got another game on our floor, and that's a solid start for us," he said. "You know, we can't look, I guess, Game 5 or Game 6 or any of that. We've just got to get one. We're confident that we can do that. And then once we do that, we build from there."
CJ McCollum led the Blazers in scoring with 23 points but missed 13 of 20 shots, including 8 of his 10 3-point attempts. He said the team is still confident.
"You never want a series to end, especially on your home court. Everybody on this team has pride. Everybody on this team understands what's at stake," he said. "We've been through a lot of adversity this season, and in our lives individually. We're looking forward to the challenge. We dug ourselves quite a hole, but now for us, it's just one game at a time."
Watch postgame interviews here, and re-experience the game through social media updates from before, during, and after the game.