The Golden State Warriors absorbed Stephen Curry‘s injury and absence like champions at first. At home, they looked no poorer on the court for lack of the league MVP’s contributions. But that all came to an end in Portland in Game 3, when on-a-mission guard Damian Lillard lit up the Warriors for 40 points with Curry in street clothes. The Trail Blazers beat Golden State convincingly, 120-108.
Draymond Green and Klay Thompson upped their scoring production for the Warriors to cover for Curry’s absence, scoring 37 and 35 respectively. But perhaps ironically, it was on defense that Curry — a scoring machine — was missed most. The Warriors defense is underrated, if only because they are such a prolific scoring team. But just because they score well doesn’t mean they don’t honor the old adage that “defense wins championships.” The Warriors ranked #5 in defensive efficiency in the NBA this season, not least because Curry took care of some of the most penetrating guards in the league. In Portland, the Warriors missed Curry’s defense most. Golden State leads the series 2-1. Next game is Monday, May 9, in Portland.