Warriors

Warriors vs. Blazers West finals: Grab a chair and watch the fireworks

/ by Monte Poole
Presented By montepoole
Warriors

Grab a cold drink and a snack, settle into a comfortable seat and feast your eyes on the most breathtaking backcourt fireworks the NBA can offer.

The Portland Trail Blazers thrive on the offensive pyrotechnics provided by guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.

The Warriors prosper when Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are lighting up the sky with 3-point bombs.

The two most explosive guard tandems in the NBA will be on display when the best-of-seven Western Conference finals get under way Tuesday night at Oracle Arena.

And, yes, the draining of 30-foot jump shots, as only Curry and Lillard routinely do, classify as fireworks.

Curry (27.3 points per game) and Thompson (21.5) were the second-highest backcourt in the NBA — behind Houston’s James Harden (36.1) and Chris Paul (15.6) — but only one of two duos with both players averaging more than 20 points.

Oakland native Lillard (25.8) and McCollum (21.0), the No. 3 scoring duo, represent the other.

The teams split four meetings in the regular season, with the Warriors prevailing 125-97 on Nov. 23 in Oakland and 115-105 on Dec. 29 in Portland. The Blazers posted a 110-109 win in overtime on Dec. 27 at Oracle and 129-107 on Feb. 13 at Moda Center.

The Blazers advanced Sunday, coming back for a 100-96 Game 7 victory over the Nuggets in Denver to reach the conference finals for the first time since 2000, when the starting center was Arvydas Sabonis and the starting power forward was 24-year-old Rasheed Wallace.

 

The Warriors advanced Friday, with a 118-113 Game 6 win over the Rockets in Houston.

This will be the third meeting between the teams in four postseasons, with the most recent in 2017, when the Warriors swept a first-round series. The Warriors knocked the Blazers out in five, also in the second round, in 2016.

The Warriors will be heavy favorites, and deservingly so as the top seed in the conference. In addition to Curry and Thompson, it is likely that Kevin Durant, coping with a left calf strain suffered Wednesday in Game 5 against the Rockets, will rejoin the team at some point during the series.

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Portland entered the postseason as the No. 3 seed, winning in five games over the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round before upsetting the No. 2 seed Denver Nuggets in the conference semifinals.

With the amount of firepower in the backcourts, this looks to be a series memorable for its shot-making.