Warriors

Warriors sweep Trail Blazers: Five numbers that stand out from four games

Warriors sweep Trail Blazers: Five numbers that stand out from four games

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.

3

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.

1965-66

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.

Triple-double

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.  

5-0

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.

[RELATED: Warriors owner Lacob says KD coming back for NBA Finals]

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.

Warriors' Draymond Green excited to play like he did pre-Kevin Durant

Warriors' Draymond Green excited to play like he did pre-Kevin Durant

It's wild how things can change so quickly in such a short amount of time.

In late September -- just before the Warriors opened training camp -- Draymond Green had lofty expectations for the 2019-20 season.

"I'm going back to the way I was pre-KD (Kevin Durant), and that's exciting to me," he told Sam Alipour of ESPN. "I had to give up shots to make sure Kevin gets his touches, and I don't regret that. It got me a couple of championships.

"But as a competitor, as someone who's still in his prime, who's been in the gym all summer trying to improve my game, it's exciting to know that I can go back to playing the way that I was playing before.

"You haven't seen the best of me. I'm definitely not at my peak. I have so much room to grow, new heights that I can reach -- like becoming a 40 percent 3-point shooter. That'd be amazing, right?

"My shooting dropped off the last couple of seasons, but it's tough when you're taking only two or three 3s a game. My percentages were a lot higher when I took more."

Well, fast forward six weeks later and Draymond finds himself in unchartered territory as the Warriors (2-10) have the worst record in the NBA.

Plain and simple, he doesn't look like himself so far. And not only is he playing without Klay Thompson, but Steph Curry won't be taking the floor for several more months, and Kevon Looney remains out indefinitely.

As a result, the Warriors predominantly have become a pick-and-roll team, as Draymond finds himself watching D'Angelo Russell run the show.

"I’ve always been a playmaker. I don't really have the ball much," the three-time All-Star told reporters Monday night after Golden State's loss to the Jazz.

"This is going to allow him to play off the ball and space out and work on his shot," coach Steve Kerr told the media Tuesday. "I'm going to encourage that. He can get that confidence back."

Let's take a look at Draymond's 3-point shooting over the years:
-2015-16 = 38.8 percent on 3.2 attempts
-2016-17 = 30.8 percent on 3.5 attempts
-2017-18 = 30.1 percent on 3.7 attempts
-2018-19 = 28.5 percent on 2.5 attempts

So Draymond's point about fewer attempts negatively impacting his percentage doesn't really hold up because he shot more triples in the first two seasons with KD than he did during his career-year in 2015-16.

But in his defense, Draymond making those shots didn't matter as much with KD onboard because the Warriors probably were going to win anyways.

[RELATEDHow much one bettor makes if Warriors win 2020 NBA Finals]

That no longer is the case. And even if Draymond were to go 8-for-10 from deep this season, the Dubs still could lose that game.

But big picture, the two-time All-NBA selection absolutely should use this season to regain his consistency from beyond the arc (he went 2-for-4 on Wednesday against the Lakers). As it pertains to that 40 percent goal, the mindset he had in late September should not change.

Given the circumstances, that won't be easy on a nightly basis.

Follow @DrewShiller on Twitter and Instagram

Bettor to make $1M if Warriors turn season around, win 2020 NBA Finals

Bettor to make $1M if Warriors turn season around, win 2020 NBA Finals

The Warriors (2-10) own the worst record in the NBA.

Klay Thompson probably isn't going to suit up at all this season, and Steph Curry might not take the floor again until March.

But that didn't stop a certain someone from essentially lighting $1,000 on fire:

Why didn't this person wire the $1,000 to my bank account? Daycare for a 10-month old isn't cheap.

There literally are at least 1,000 ways that the $1,000 could have been better utilized.

Perhaps it was this guy who placed the bet:

[RELATEDWhy LeBron didn't win his rivalry with Warriors in any way]

Or maybe the bettor thought the wager was on the Warriors landing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

Got to read the fine print on those betting slips!

Follow @DrewShiller on Twitter and Instagram

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