Warriors

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

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

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.

[RELATED: What to watch in Warriors-Blazers WCF]

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.

Warriors star Steph Curry has fun playing pick-up basketball with kids

Warriors star Steph Curry has fun playing pick-up basketball with kids

They say in order to be the best, you must compete against the best.

If you go by that logic, the kids you're about to see may have a bright future -- they're competing against Steph Curry.

Recent footage surfaced of a few kids playing a pickup game with the Warriors star, and these kids could hang:

During the pick-up game, you can hear Steph chatting it up like it's an NBA game, saying "I got your help" and celebrating after a 3-pointer.

He didn't take it lightly on the young ones.

Curry, of course, showed off some of his masterful shooting, ball-handling and footwork during the scrimmage.

[RELATED: Curry cements himself as social justice leader]

Imagine being one of the kids who could add that to their résumés before even reaching high school.

Ex-Warriors Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala chime in on double-team debate

Ex-Warriors Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala chime in on double-team debate

We're talking about pick-up.

Not a game. Not a game. Not a game. We're talking about pick-up.

Ah, yes, the doldrums of the NBA offseason. We have officially arrived. You can tell because the NBA world's focus has drifted to a rather ridiculous topic over the last 24 hours.

It all started when video surfaced of Suns guard Devin Booker getting visibly frustrated as a result of being double-teamed in a pick-up game featuring several other NBA players, including Ben Simmons, Joakim Noah and Trey Lyles.

"Hey bro, we're not doubling in open gym," Booker can be heard saying. "I see that s--t all season. Come on, man. Let's work on our games."

"Yeah, we are," Noah retorted. "It's part of the game." 

On Wednesday morning, Hawks guard Trae Young voiced his thoughts on the subject, aligning himself with his pal Booker.

Young's thoughts have since made the rounds, with numerous former and current NBA scouts and players chiming in. Ex-Warriors star Kevin Durant couldn't resist.

Apparently, this isn't the first time Durant has expressed such feelings. Two of his now-former teammates got under his skin doubling him in a practice (warning: NSFW language).

[RELATED: Kerr wants Livingston involved with Warriors for years]

It's a bit ironic that Iguodala mentioned it being right after the All-Star break, as Twitter detectives have tracked down visual evidence of Durant himself participating in a double-team against Steph Curry in what technically was an exhibition -- the NBA All-Star game.

Durant responded to that tweet, pointing out how that double-team was drawn up by coaches, whereas there aren't typically any in your average pick-up game. That's a fair point, but here's the problem with his reasoning: Bonafide NBA players like Simmons, Noah and Lyles don't need a coach to tell them when, who or how to double-team.

If Booker wants to work on his offensive game in open gym, others should be allowed to work on their defensive game, too, right? And, frankly, wouldn't Booker benefit more in the long run from working on his game against the same kind of defense he actually faces?

If you want to work on your NBA game, then don't be surprised when you encounter NBA defense. Anything else is simply batting practice.