Trail Blazers face must-win vs. Warriors (Apr 22, 2017)
PORTLAND, Ore. — Kevin Durant is “questionable.” Jusuf Nurkic is “doubtful.”
But the Golden State-Portland series rolls into Saturday’s Game 3 at Moda Center with this certainty: The Warriors have a distinct advantage over the Trail Blazers, who are trying to dig out of an 0-2 hole.
“We have to get a win,” Portland point guard Damian Lillard said. “You don’t want to go into Game 4 down 3-0. That’s dangerous territory. We’ll feel a lot better if we go into Game 4 down 2-1, looking to tie up the series.”
Durant said after Friday’s practice session the condition of his strained calf, which kept him out of Wednesday night’s Game 2, is improving.
“Felt good today,” Durant said. “It’s getting better. We’ll see how it feels (Saturday) morning.”
“We didn’t do much at practice,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said, “but he went through all the stuff we did.”
Durant had 32 points and 10 rebounds in a 121-109 victory in Sunday’s opener, “and I played the whole fourth quarter on (the calf),” he said.
He said Kerr and the Warriors have had experience with other players nursing calf injuries.
“They don’t want to risk reinjuring it or I might be out for a long time,” Durant said. “I understand. I’m trying to look at the big picture. But I definitely want to be out there.”
Durant had missed 19 games late in the regular season because of a knee injury.
“It’s unfortunate,” he said. “You work so hard to get back. I played well the first game (of the series). But it’s part of sports. I just have to push through it.”
Kerr said Durant was scheduled to go through an individual workout later Friday and then shootaround on Saturday.
“We’ll see how he does,” Kerr said. “Until he is 100 percent, we have to be cautious and make the right decision. If it were Game 7 of the finals, he’d play. We’re not talking about anything that could damage his career. But it’s something that could potentially get worse and knock him out for two weeks. Then it’s not worth it.
“Kevin is frustrated, especially coming off the six weeks of inactivity. He’s dying to be out on the floor. It’s driving him nuts, but he knows this is the right approach.”
The Warriors also listed reserves Shaun Livingston (finger) and Matt Barnes (ankle) as questionable for Game 3.
Nurkic hasn’t practiced with Portland in the postseason and hasn’t played a game since March 28, having missed nine games with a non-displaced fracture of his right leg. The 7-foot center, acquired in a February trade with Denver, shot around with his teammates during Friday’s practice session but is listed as doubtful for Saturday.
The Blazers, manhandled 110-81 in Game 2 at Oracle Arena, were 25-16 at home during the regular season, finishing by winning 11 of their last 14.
“We have a special home-court advantage because of the way our fans operate, but (players from) any team will say they have an advantage at home,” Lillard said. “You sleep in your own bed. You’re in your comfort zone. You’re on your home floor. Your crowd will be behind us.
“On the road, when a team hits a few big shots, you have to call a timeout. Now, that’s going to be on our side. It creates a certain level of confidence and puts a certain amount of stress on the visiting team.”