The Warriors -- playing without an injured Kevin Durant -- swept the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2019 Western Conference finals.
If Carmelo Anthony was on Portland's roster last season, would the Blazers have been the team to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals?
Damian Lillard on Carmelo Anthony: "He should have been here three years ago. We get on his case about that all the time. I feel like we could have been in the Finals last year if we had him."— Sean Highkin (@highkin) August 7, 2020
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Warriors fans certainly are having fun with this one on Twitter, because it's extremely unlikely Portland would have outlasted Golden State in that series, even if we assume KD never took the floor (Andre Iguodala also missed Game 4).
In Lillard's defense, he said "could" and not "would," so it wasn't an outright declaration.
Since we are on the topic, this is when we remind everybody about what transpired during the four games last May:
Steph Curry: 36.5 points, 7.3 assists, 46.9 percent shooting, 42.6 percent on 3s
Lillard: 22.3 points, 8.5 assists, 37.1 percent shooting, 36.8 percent on 3s
As for Dame's "three years ago" comment, he and CJ McCollum tried to convince Carmelo to force a trade to the Blazers in July 2017 (a couple months after the Warriors swept them in the first round of the playoffs). But the 10-time All-Star ended up on the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Ultimately, we're gonna chalk up this recent statement from Dame as an attempt to inspire his teammate for the stretch run in the Orlando bubble. Carmelo has made some big shots during the seeding games, and Lillard called him a Hall of Famer after Portland's win over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday.
But to wrap a bow on this -- no, the Blazers would not have knocked off the Dubs last year if they had Carmelo.
Let's move on.