Programming note: Watch the NBA Finals pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders on Thursday, May 30 at 4:00 p.m., streaming live on the MyTeams app.
The Golden State Warriors swept the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference finals.
The Dubs won Game 1 by 22 points, Game 2 by three points, Game 3 by 11 points and Game 4 by two points in overtime.
Damian Lillard believes one variable changed everything.
"I think going into the Western Conference finals, in my mind this was a shot for us to win it all," he told reporters on Tuesday. "I really felt like we could have beat the Warriors and went on to win it all.
"I think we have Nurk (Jusuf Nurkic), it's a completely different situation. And that's not a crutch or an excuse, I just think with him out there our season would have probably been extended a little bit longer."
"Completely different" as in Portland wins the series?
"Probably been extended a little bit longer" in that the series goes to six or seven games?
Is this the moment when somebody tells Dame that the Warriors were missing Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins all four games and didn't have Andre Iguodala in Game 4?
Not having Nurkic -- who averaged 15.6 points and 10.4 rebounds before suffering a season-ending broken leg on March -- was absolutely a big loss for the Blazers.
But let's just make sure we keep in mind the full context when discussing hypotheticals.