After four years of Western Conference Titles, it is no surprise that once again the Golden State Warriors have been crowned the Western Conference Winners in the 2018/2019 season. Congratulations on making the NBA boring.
Golden State Warriors (4-0) v Portland Trailblazers (0-4): 119 to 117
In all seriousness, this game was actually pretty fantastic.
For the third game in a row, the Golden State Warriors overcame a big first half deficit to win the game.
They were down 17 with three minutes left in the third and managed to take it to overtime and win.
Dame Time had three opportunities to win the game, a floater in regulation (that had a Kawhi style of bounce), a layup in overtime to tie the game (which was defended perfectly by Draymond Green and Klay Thompson) and a three pointer in the final seconds to win in overtime (again credit to Klay for great defence).
He went 0-3. Whether it was his rib injury or just a bit of bad luck, he missed all those shots and Golden State won. Golden State were always going to win this series and the way they played in Game 4, it looked like they really felt they needed to win this game. They wanted that time off.
Draymond Green continued his Playoff hot streak. He was just phenomenal running the offence and in everyone’s grill on defence, seen by his defence against Dame Lillard down the stretch. Watching his intensity and his court vision is something to behold. He was efficient with 7-13, had his second triple double in as many games with 3 steals and 2 blocks. He did it all, including a game winning three.
Steph Curry also had a phenomenal game, once again, despite his poor shooting in the second half and travel that forced the overtime. He still ended up with 37 points, 7/16 from three and a bloody triple double (13 rebounds and 11 assists, including four offensive rebounds).
In a game where Klay Thompson was great on defence but offensively struggled (7-21 and 3-10 from three), Green and Steph did an amazing job to get this team the win.
But again the bench, which has transformed into a monster in the playoffs (to everyone’s surprise) was vital in the win. I think by now we shouldn’t be surprised and yet I still am.
Alfonzo McKinnie (although starting this game) had two crucial offensive rebounds leading to a basket that helped to seal the warriors win in overtime. Shaun Livingston was 4-4 and Kevon Looney was just amazing with 12 points and 14 rebounds (including 6 offensive rebounds). The Warriors are just clicking and look so scary when you remember they were missing: Andre Iguodala, Boogie Cousins and Kevin Durant in this game.
The Warriors now get 9 days off to get back their entire arsenal before the Finals against the Raptors or Bucks.
Meanwhile for the Blazers, their season is over, after a very impressive playoff run.
They actually played really well. This game reminded me of Houston in Game 6 v Golden State this year. Both the Blazers and Houston played well, they shot well, they turned it over less but at the end of the day, the Warriors are just better.
It is that simple.
Even with a career night for Meyers Leonard, who had 25 points at the half and finished with 30 points and 12 rebounds (12-16 shooting and 5-8 from three), who has increased his value about twenty-fold and really showed his versatility and talent in this series, it was not enough for the Blazers to win.
Despite Dame Lillard’s poor finish for the game, both he and CJ McCollum combined for 54 points and 19 assists. They had a good game.
Enes Kanter and Zach Collins were good off the bench with 16 points between them, but Rodney Hood and Even Turner lacked the offensive power to support the new big three in Portland of Dame, CJ and Leonard. Overall the Blazers had a good game.
The biggest losers of this series were Al Farouq Aminu and Mo Harkless who played a combine 27 minutes in an overtime game which would decide the season for the Blazers and combined for five points. They have lost the trust of their team and just can’t compete against teams like the Warriors (or Denver for that matter), they struggle on defence and can’t fire on offense. It raises some real issues for the Blazers and interesting questions for the offseason.
Dame and CJ fought hard and deserved to be in the Western Conference but their glimpse at going to the finals was all to brief and now it is over.
The Blazers have some thinking to do about which players to add to compliment the strong core of CJ and Dame, who for the first time in many years are in a situation where no one is saying blow up this brilliant backcourt. BUT they do need more pieces (especially starters) to make them serious contenders next year.
Also I am not going to bother with the Curry v Curry debate, because everyone knows that is a farce. One brother had 1 point and the other had 37 and a triple double. Debate over.