McGee shines in Warriors dominant, Durant-less display

Golden State Warriors' JaVale McGee during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

OAKLAND (KRON) — “Strength in Numbers.” The famous Warriors slogan held true tonight as the team ran the Trail Blazers out of town with a 110-81 victory in the second game of the series.

This feat was accomplished without All-Star forward Kevin Durant. Patrick McCaw was impactful starting in place, but JaVale McGee stood out as the true X-factor in tonight’s dominant display.

The seven-footer came off the bench breathing fire. In the first quarter, Klay Thompson led the Warriors with a quiet 8 points. With just over four minutes of playing time, McGee followed close behind, matching Steph Curry and Zaza Pachulia with six.

The second quarter weaved a similar narrative. Again, it was McGee who stole the show, adding another seven points to his total, and finishing the half as the Warrior’s lead scorer with 13 points. His defensive play was equally as impressive. He was clearly an effective pest against Portland, and had three blocks by the end of the first half.

There was one second-quarter scare, when Portland took advantage of a brief Warrior scoring drought to put themselves within striking distance. After an Evan Turner three ball, the Blazers were down just one point (43-42) with under four minutes in the half. The Dubs, however, weathered the oncoming storm. When the second half began, they were off to the races.

Collectively, the Warriors had an authoritative start to the third quarter. As their lead continued expanding, it became clear they would pack their bags for Portland undefeated in the series.

When all was said and done Golden State defended their ground, and won by almost 30 points. Playing just 13 minutes, McGee accounted for 15 of the combined 50 bench points, and was 7/7 from the field. In doing so, he tied a franchise record for most field goals made without a miss in a play-off game, originally set by Chris Gatling back in 1992 against the Seattle SuperSonics. Despite tying a quarter century-old franchise record, McGee’s response to his role in the win was a modest one.

“I just try to be efficient out there,” he said. “I don’t try to do too much. I just try to do what’s necessary for me in the minutes that I’m out there.”

He was also monumental in shutting down the Trail Blazer’s back court. CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard scored a combined 23 points, which is about a third of the damage they inflicted in game one.

Game three will be played this Saturday in Portland at 7:30 p.m.

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