The Golden State Warriors vs Portland Trail Blazers regular season series was fantastic. Each team went 1-1 on their home court. Golden State won the first game on their home court behind a strong performance from Kevin Durant in which he had 32 points and nine rebounds. Game two was an OT victory for Portland. Injured big man Jusuf Nurkic poured in 27 points and 12 rebounds. Game three was just two days later and despite 40 points from Damian Lillard, Golden State prevailed behind 32 points from Klay Thompson. The final game of the regular season went to the Trail Blazers behind a strong 29 point, eight assist performance from Lillard.
Series Preview: Golden State Warriors vs Portland Trail Blazers
Golden State Warriors Breakdown
The Warriors are on one of the greatest five-year runs of all time. They are looking to advance to their fifth consecutive NBA Finals and have won three of the previous four championships. The juggernaut known as the Warriors employ perhaps the greatest shooting backcourt of all time in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Kevin Durant holds down the starting small forward position and he is one of the greatest scorers the NBA has ever seen. Power forward is manned by Draymond Green, who fits this team like a glove. The Warriors need very little help but could be getting that in Demarcus Cousins. Cousins tore his quad in the opening round series against the Clippers but there is optimism that he will return in the conference finals. Golden State’s bench is solid. Their sixth man is a former finals MVP, Andre Iguodala. Kevon Looney was huge in game six against the Rockets and they also have solid contributors in Shaun Livingston and Alfonzo McKinnie.
Portland Trail Blazers Breakdown
Portland got to this point thanks to their fantastic backcourt. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum have been phenomenal in the post-season. They have willed this team to the conference finals. However, Portland’s starting forwards will provide some help, Al-Farouq Aminu and Mo Harkless are very versatile defensively and will see a lot of Kevin Durant. Enes Kanter mans the middle and is very good offensively but a little weak on the defensive end. The Blazers typically go four deep off the bench. Wing Rodney Hood was terrible last post-season but has been great as a bench scorer this time around. Former number two pick Evan Turner runs the backup point guard position. Zach Collins is the lone big who sees substantial minutes off the bench for Portland. He can stretch the floor and be a capable shot blocker. Perhaps the most interesting reserve for Portland is Steph Curry’s younger brother, Seth Curry. He, as you might think, provides great shooting off the bench.
The backcourt match-up is a good one for Portland. The Warriors backcourt is going to be explosive, like always, but Portland is going to continuously use guard-to=guard ball screens to get Curry switched off on Lillard or McCollum which is a win for Portland. As good as Golden State’s backcourt is, their starting frontcourt is how they win this series. Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and Demarcus Cousins will be able to dominate this series. Shaun Livingston has a size advantage on the opposing team’s backup point guard every night, but he won’t in this series. Evan Turner also has very good size for a point guard. Andre Iguodala will need to be very good in this series. He will see a lot of minutes when the Warriors go small, which will allow them to hide Curry on defense. Rodney Hood will have to continue his good play in order for Portland to have a chance.
Golden State Warriors vs Portland Trail Blazers Prediction
Lillard and McCollum are fantastic, however, Golden State is loaded. This series should be over in six games. Not having Jusuf Nurkic to help in the paint is a major issue in this series. The Warriors should be able to overwhelm Portland with all of their firepower on offense. With a win, Golden State will make their fifth consecutive trip to the NBA Finals.
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