PORTLAND -- Sweep. The Portland Trail Blazers put up a fight in all but one of the four games of the Western Conference finals, but in the end, the Golden State Warriors’ experience and talent were too much to overcome.
It was a short, but entertaining series with plenty of sidenotes and quality storylines. Here are five numbers to look at coming out of the series as the Warriors move on to the NBA Finals.
The Trail Blazers held a lead of 17 points or more in all of the final three games of the series. Leads mean very little when you are facing the Golden State Warriors. They score in bunches and have two of the greatest shooters in the history of the NBA.
Saying that, Portland looked panicked at times and allowed Draymond Green and Stephen Curry to control the pace of the game. They caught in switches and had no answer for Steve Kerr’s in-game adjustments.
Despite an incredible home crowd and plenty of injuries to the Warriors, the Blazers weren’t able to close out the champs and steal even one game at Moda Center.
The last time an NBA team went to five straight NBA Finals was the Boston Celtics, led by Red Auerbach, Bill Russell and John Havlicek during the 1965-66 season. Boston strung together 10 straight finals appearances, winning nine, including eight straight ending in 1966.
What the Warriors are doing is impressive, although Michael Jordan’s Bulls might have gone to eight straight if the NBA legend hadn’t stepped aside during the 1993-94 season and most of the 1994-95 campaign.
Golden State is on a path to pick up their fourth ring in five years. If they keep the squad together, the run could last another few seasons.
Curry and Green were incredible in Game 4. The pair of All-Stars posted triple-doubles as the Warriors found a way to overcome injuries and a huge deficit to sweep the Blazers.
Curry came out swinging early, scoring 25 of his 37 points in the first half. He knocked down 7-of-16 from long range and 11-of-25 from the field overall. Once he established his scoring, he found his teammates for 11 assists and turned the ball over just twice in 47 minutes of action. He chipped in 13 rebounds, showing that he’s more than just the greatest shooter the game has ever seen.
While Green didn’t post the offensive numbers Curry did, he still managed to post an 18-point, 14-rebound, 11-assists performance. He turned the ball over six times, but added three steals and two blocks while creating chaos on the defensive end.
The Warriors needed a long layoff to heal and Kerr left his two stars on the court for major minutes to insure that they got the win.
30 and 12
Meyers Leonard is known more for his massive contract than his play on the court. The 27-year-old center was a difference maker from the opening tip on Monday at the Moda Center.
Leonard dropped 14 points in the first quarter and kept the ball rolling throughout the first half. He scored 25 of his career-high 30 before the intermission and forced the Warriors to make adjustments.
There was a moment in the fourth quarter where two Warriors ran at Leonard on the perimeter. The 7-footer calmly dished the ball to Damian Lillard for an open 3-pointer.
He finished the night with 30 points, 12 rebounds and three assists in 40 minutes. If you had Leonard dropping 30 and 12 as a prop bet, you made a fortune.
Golden State continues to steamroll through the postseason despite superstar Kevin Durant going down with a calf injury five games ago. They sealed the deal against Houston and then swept the Blazers in a quick series.
Kerr has used Alfonzo McKinnie and Jonas Jerebko to eat a lot of the minutes. The Warriors head coach even turned to rookie Jacob Evans to steal eat time on Monday evening.
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Durant wasn’t the only player missing from the Warriors rotation. DeMarcus Cousins has sat most of the postseason with a quad injury and Andre Iguodala couldn’t play in the Western Conference finale with a calf injury.
With 10 days off to heal up, the Warriors might get back to full strength before facing either the Milwaukee Bucks or Toronto Raptors. Even if they don’t, they’ve proven they can beat quality teams at less than full strength.