Warriors

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 119-117 Game 4 win over Blazers

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 119-117 Game 4 win over Blazers

BOX SCORE

PORTLAND, Ore - Golden State entered Game 4 of the Western Conference finals Monday evening with plans of sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers.

It took a while, but by the end of the night, they accomplished their goal -- overcoming a 17-point deficit to beat the Blazers 119-117 in overtime. 

With the win, the Warriors became the first team since the Boston Celtics of the 1950s to reach five consecutive NBA Finals

The win also allows the Warriors nine days of rest until Game 1 of the NBA Finals on May 30, which will be held in either Milwaukee or Toronto depending on which team wins the Eastern Conference Finals matchup. 

For now, here are the takeaways from Game 4. 

Steph Curry

With Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala out, Curry took the reigns of the offense, finishing with 37 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists. 

Curry played particularly well in the fourth quarter, helping the Warriors outscore Portland 32-22 over the fourth quarter and overtime. 

With Durant out, the offense will continue to center around Curry and Green going forward. 

Meyers Leonard

Building off his Game 3 performance, Leonard was unstoppable Monday evening, scoring 25 of his game-high 30 points on in the first half, on 10-of-12 shooting from the field. 

Leonard has been much maligned throughout his career in Portland, often relegated to a bench role for the majority of his career. 

While the Blazers will take this performance any night, Golden State will be content as long as Damian Lillard and CJ McCullum are not hurting them. 

[RELATED: Curry, Leonard both on fire in first half of Game 4]

Defense

Golden State's championship level defense was missing for much of the night. The Blazers shot 60.9 percent from the field in the first half. 

In addition to Leonard's exploits, CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard combined for 54 points of their own. 

Portland's success had much to do with the absence of Warriors forward Andre Iguodala, who was sidelined with a leg injury suffered in Game 3. The timeline of Iguodala's leg injury is uncertain, and so it was not surprising that Steve Kerr played Steph Curry the entire second half to make sure the series didn't last any longer.

Steph Curry omits LeBron James, Kevin Durant from all-time starting five

Steph Curry omits LeBron James, Kevin Durant from all-time starting five

When Stephen Curry's career is all said and done, there's a good chance many of the current younger generations of NBA fans will include him in their all-time starting five. They have seen the game evolve in front of their very own eyes, and no player was more responsible for that transition than the greatest shooter ever.

But Curry's career isn't over yet. Not even close. And as things currently stand, even he wouldn't include himself in his all-time starting five.

On the most recent episode of Showtime's "All the Smoke" with Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes, Curry was asked which five players he would nominate for that lofty designation, and it's pretty tough to disagree with his selections.

Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Tim Duncan and Shaquille O'Neal? Safe to say that squad would be tough to beat. Of course, if there's one thing that the five-man unit is lacking, it's probably a lack of perimeter shooting. Maybe that's how Curry eventually fits in.

It's worth noting that Curry didn't include LeBron James on his list. Of course, if reported rivalries are to be believed, perhaps that explains the omission. Same goes for Kevin Durant, who recently left Curry out of his top-six hardest players to guard in the league. Are these sour grapes being thrown back and forth?

[RELATED: Steph admits he wanted Knicks to draft him instead of Dubs]

It's certainly possible in the modern NBA, but a far more likely explanation is that James and Durant, like Curry, aren't finished yet.

Warriors send Jacob Evans down to G League in order to regain rhythm

Warriors send Jacob Evans down to G League in order to regain rhythm

SAN FRANCISCO -- Jacob Evans has held out hope for improvement for much of the season. For the time being, he'll try to reach the goal in the G League.

The Warriors guard's latest odyssey to Santa Cruz is expected to last until Sunday, providing Evans an opportunity to get more on-court time during an injury-plagued season. 

"This will give him a chance to play bigger minutes," Warriors coach Steve Kerr. "To develop a rhythm."

With the demotion, Evans will miss Friday's matchup against the Indiana Pacers in San Francisco. Instead, he will play Friday evening against the Wisconsin Herd at Kaiser Permanente Arena and Sunday's matchup against the South Bay Lakers. He'll then rejoin the Warriors on the team's upcoming five-game road trip, which starts Tuesday against the Philadelphia 76ers. 

Evans' second season in the NBA has been marred by injury.  A week into the season, he strained his left adductor, costing him 21 games. Last week, he missed three more games after suffering a concussion. All the while, he's shooting just 31 percent from the field and has been supplanted in the rotation by rookie Jordan Poole.

"These last few weeks have been tough, even before injury," Kerr said. He hasn't really been able to get himself going, we haven't been able to help him get going. We feel like this is a perfect time for him to get some playing time."

[RELATED: Warriors' Paschall credits rise to Jay Wright at 'Coaching Corps']

Evans was drafted in 2018 for his defensive acumen. He's struggled to find offensive success this season, averaging just four points despite averaging 10 more minutes per game. However, Kerr remains confident in Evans' long-term development. 

"He's a big, strong, smart defender. He's picked up a lot in his year and a half in the league," Kerr said. "So he's a guy I can trust and count on defensively. But like everybody in this disjointed season, it's been tough for him to find a niche."