Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the Trail Blazers win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 1

Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the Trail Blazers win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 1

The Portland Trail Blazers and Oklahoma City Thunder squared off in the first round of the 2019 NBA playoffs in Game 1 on Sunday.

The NW division foes are both looking to advance to the second round for the first time since 2016.

Thunder All-Star Paul George has been dealing with soreness in his right shoulder since February 26th, and was listed as questionable, but since it’s the playoffs George played his normal minutes in Game 1 but did not have a good shooting night. 

As most people expected, the game got a bit chippy at times with hard screens and some “friendly” shoving. Portland jumped out to 39-25 lead at the end of the first quarter behind the Moda Center crowd.

Portland tightened up its defense in the second half. It was a block party for Maurice Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu. Evan Turner turned it up too, coming up with crucial steals.

In the finals minutes, the Trail Blazers closed out the game by hitting clutch free throws, getting stops, and Enes Kanter gobbling up offensive boards, as Portland beats OKC 104-99.

The Blazers now take the 1-0 advantage in the best of seven-series.

Final Box Score: Trail Blazers 104, Thunder 99

Here are some quick thoughts from the Blazers Game 1 victory:

1. Ball movement opening up the perimeter for Lillard and McCollum

The Blazers started the game playing a little inside, outside game. Plus, Portland made sure to zip the ball around the three-point line to find the open man. CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard both got clean looks early. The Blazers backcourt duo took advantage of it too, both starting the game off going 2-for-2 from three.

Portland as a team went 7-of-10 from three-point range in the first quarter. Shooting well from deep was an emphasis for the Blazers heading into the series after having so much trouble from long distance against the Thunder in the regular season.

Lillard and McCollum were not messing around. When they got open looks, they took them. It is apparent these two learned a lot from their last first round series against the Pelicans.

Seth Curry carried the three-point load early in the second quarter. For the first half, three-point shooting was the difference in the game. Portland led 54-48 at the break after hitting 9-of-17 from three to the Thunder’s 2-of-18 from deep.

2. Playoff intensity crowd – plenty of cheers and boos

The Trail Blazers came out of the gate with the intensity you expect in the postseason. Blazers fans did the same.

Here’s a short list that got the Moda Center crowd really going on Sunday:

-The Blazers hitting from deep

-Hard screens set by Meyers Leonard

-CJ McCollum and Terrance Ferguson getting into at the free throw line, which resulted in offsetting technicals

-Lillard at the free throw line (MVP chants a plenty)

-Whenever Raymond Felton checked into the game or caught the ball (So. Many. Boos.)

-Thunder calling a timeout after Blazers extending the led back up 10 with 2:41 remaining in the third

-OKC getting called for the offensive fouls

-When Westbrook air balled it from the corner… Or really when he did anything you could expect boos

-#LillardTime three-pointer with less than three minutes left in the game

3. OKC shot selection

In the first half, it looked as though OKC was settling for tough shots or just not hitting wide-open ones. The second half didn’t go much better for the Thunder.

OKC could not buy a basket, especially from three. After three quarters, the Thunder were 3-for-24 from three. The bad news for the Blazers – Oklahoma City was awful from three and yet the Thunder were still able to keep the game close. A big reason for the Thunder sticking around was the fact that OKC was able to snag offensive rebounds. 

You have to imagine OKC and Paul George particularly will not shoot this bad in any other game the rest of this series.

NEXT UP: The Trail Blazers and Thunder will tip-off Game 2 on Tuesday night at 7:30pm. You can catch the game on NBC Sports Northwest. Our pregame coverage starts at 6:30pm.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your Blazers and stream the games easily on your device.

Olshey: "Everyone who comes through here has gotten better"

Olshey: "Everyone who comes through here has gotten better"

It was exit-interview day for the Portland Trail Blazers, the final chance for the media to interview the key players, coach and management of one of the most surprising teams in the franchise’s 49-year history.

There weren’t a lot of shocking happenings – other than President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey announcing that the team has extended the contract of head coach Terry Stotts. But that wasn’t much of a surprise, either, since Stotts had just engineered a run to the Western Conference finals for a team predicted before the season to win 42 games and miss the playoffs.

The pertinent video is on this website and I invite you to peruse it, but in the interest of time, let me hit a few of the highlights for you, in order of the players’ appearance:

CJ McCollum: “It was an incredible season based on what we went through. Expectations weren’t that high. It was a pretty incredible year.”

Meyers Leonard: “The last two games were what I know in my heart I can do. Heading into this offseason I feel very confident in what I’ve done. I’m happy to know I feel I gave the staff and the organization confidence in me. I’m going to come back next year ready for a more definite role.”

Evan Turner: “It was dope. We did a lot of great things this season. We went from being a playoff-caliber team to a potential championship-caliber team. We’re legit.”

Al-Farouq Aminu: “I’ve been here four years now. It’s the longest I’ve ever been at one organization. I don’t think you heard me complain too much.”

Damian Lillard: “People who might not have believed before, people who thought I was crazy for thinking we could push that far, now I’m sure a lot of people believe it more than they did before. We were coming off a sweep in the first round (last season). It’s a great feeling just to know, OK, we had a 15-plus lead in three of the four games. We know that we were capable of winning those games. And if those things go our way, we’re looking at going to the Finals.”

Maurice Harkless: “Overall, we have a lot to be proud of this season. We would have liked a better outcome. But that’s a huge accomplishment by us as a team.”

Enes Kanter: “It’s been an amazing experience. This team made me a better person and a better player. It was the best thing that ever happened in my career.”

Rodney Hood: “I’m not sure (about his free-agency). Obviously, we know it’s a business. We’ll see how everything works out this summer. I’m on the record with how much I love it here and I want to be back. I want to be embraced. That’s a big word that means a lot to me. Whether that equals to a dollar amount,  that’s what I’m looking for.”

Zach Collins: “(On whether he’d like to be a starter next season) Yeah, absolutely. I think this playoff run, not only for myself but for the team, it was a great experience. And now we’ve been there and we know what to expect. For me personally, going through that and being able to play a big role and help our team win a lot of games the playoffs, I’ve already learned so much, just in the last month in the playoffs.”

Anfernee Simons: “(The last game of the regular season) obviously gave me a lot of confidence. It was a good kick-start for the summer. (And in the summer league) I want to prove myself. I am young but I’m still able to play with the best of them. I can’t wait.”

Neil Olshey: “(On Stotts’ contract extension) We win every year. It’s year No. 7 – six straight playoff appearances. Two division titles. A trip to the conference finals. And we still have one of the youngest rosters in the league. But it goes beyond wins and losses. It’s alignment, partnership, Our young players develop. It’s a commitment to a longer-term view. One of the things I’m most proud of is everyone who comes through here has gotten better.”

Terry Stotts: “(On where he ranks on the list of Trail Blazer coaches) Doctor Jack (Ramsay)  is a Hall of Famer and Rick Adelman will be. I’m not going to touch those guys. They are idols of mine. I don’t even presume to be in that category. There have been a lot of great coaches here.”

Trail Blazers have extended Terry Stotts' contract

Trail Blazers have extended Terry Stotts' contract

During "Exit Interview" day at the Trail Blazers' practice facility, Neil Olshey was asked about the contract situation with head coach Terry Stotts. 

Olshey responded simply that he had already been extended. 

When asked when that happened, Olshey replied, "about 20 minutes ago." 

Based on the success of this season it is not surprising that Terry Stotts got an extension on his contract. 

More to come about Stotts' situation and the future of the franchise from Insider Dwight Jaynes and Reporter Jamie Hudson. 

Trail Blazers discuss future in exit interviews

Trail Blazers discuss future in exit interviews

The Portland Trail Blazers are officially on vacation. Following last night's loss in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, the Trail Blazers took part in annual exit interviews before heading into the offseason.

The players, coaches and staff talked about the team's most successful season in nearly 20 years, as well as what could happen with free agents Rodney Hood, Seth Curry, Enes Kanter and Al-Farouq Aminu this offseason. Here's a recap of videos from Tuesday morning's exit interviews. 

Portland guard CJ McCollum reflected on what was a trying season for the team. The Trail Blazers faced a lot this year: The loss of owner Paul Allen, McCollum suffered a setback before playoffs and Jusuf Nurkic sustained a season-ending leg injury. In hard times, on more than one occasion, the Blazers stuck together. 

Reports circulated early Tuesday that Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers are expected to come to terms over the summer on a four-year, $191 million supermax contract extension. Lillard didn't have many thoughts on the subject when asked about it during exit interviews.

Many of the players were impressed by the play of rookie Anfernee Simons, including veteran forward Evan Turner. 

Simons shared some thoughts on what he learned in his first NBA season.  

Meyers Leonard finished the 2018-19 season on a high note. Leonard dropped "The Hammer" in Game 4, recording a career-high 30 points over the defending champs. His standout play earned him "MEY-ERS-LEON-ARD" chants in the team's final playoff game, unlike the "boos" he once heard echo throughout the Moda Center years before.

He's heading into this offseason with confidence. 

Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey had an update on Jusuf Nurkic's recovery. He said Bosnian Beast is on a "good trajectory" towards a return next. 

Olshey also had an update on Blazers coach Terry Stotts. According to Olshey, the Trail Blazers and Stotts have reached an extension on his contract. Details have yet to be revealed. 

Enes Kanter talked about his struggles off-the-court this season and why basketball has helped him get through it all. 

Rodney Hood gave his thoughts on free agency this summer and what it would mean to return to Portland next season. 

Watch all of the live streams of Blazer exit interviews here. 

Live Streams: Trail Blazer Exit Interview Day

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Live Streams: Trail Blazer Exit Interview Day

Check in here throughout the day for links to our live streams from the Trail Blazers Practice Facility. Key players plus Terry Stotts and Neil Olshey will stop by to talk to the media. 

CJ McCollum

Meyers Leonard

Evan Turner

Al-Farouq Aminu

Damian Lillard

Moe Harkless

Enes Kanter

Rodney Hood

Zach Collins

Anfernee Simons

Neil Olshey & Terry Stotts

The Portland Trail Blazers made memories worth clinging to

The Portland Trail Blazers made memories worth clinging to

Before Meyers Leonard left the arena for a final time this season, he needed to make one more stop.

He walked down the back hallway inside the Moda Center with his wife and a small group of friends and then made a hard left, dipping back into the long deserted locker room to grab a memento from a special night that concluded a unforgettable season.

Leonard snagged a final box score, which included his stat line from the best game-winner of his seven year NBA career: 30 points, 12 rebounds and three assists in 40:17.

He said he probably wouldn’t frame, but he wanted the keepsake.

It’s safe to say Leonard is not the only person in Rip City who will want to save the memory from this Trail Blazers run. This team played long enough and racked up enough special moments that depending on who you ask, those lasting memories are different.

For rookie Anfernee Simons it will be the first round series against Oklahoma City.

“That … that was fun,” the Blazers rookie said through a massive grin, recalling Damian Lillard’s 37-foot series-clinching dagger that sent a bitter rival packing.

For Jake Layman, it will probably be Game 7 in Denver when the Blazers climbed back from down 17 to win on the road after avoiding elimination in Game 6.

And Seth Curry will always appreciate earning the chance to go head-to-head against his older brother, Stephen, a backyard sibling rivalry turned Western Conference Finals showdown. Like Leonard, Seth Curry left with his brothers’ Golden State jersey. It was a night to leave with a souvenir.

Perhaps those aren’t the moments you’ll cling to weeks, months or years from now when remembering this iteration of the Blazers. Maybe you’ll remember a four overtime marathon capped by Hood’s heroics. Or Lillard waving goodbye to Russell Westbrook and the Thunder. Or CJ McCollum drilling a mid-range daggers over a helpless Torrey Craig. Or a hobbled Enes Kanter fighting off Steven Adams and Nikola Jokic with a separated left shoulder.

“On the whole probably just getting here to Western Conference Finals,” Evan Turner said when asked what will stick with him about this season. “I think that’s pretty cool when you look at it. But there’s a lot of little moments in between.”

The little moments is what made this season special, and made the big moments possible. Even the Blazers joyous and exhilarating run was dotted with heartbreak and setbacks along the way. Three days before the season Paul Allen, the team’s long time owner, passed away suddenly. Then in the waning days of the regular season, center Jusuf Nurkic fractured his leg, ending his best NBA season nine games before the playoffs. After the triumph of the first round win over, Oklahoma City video coordinator and development coach Jon Yim was in a serious car accident that caused him to miss the remainder of the playoffs.

“We lose our owner,” Lillard said. “We dealt with injuries -- CJ missed a lot of games at a crucial stretch in the season, and we just kept answering the call. And that takes a group of guys to maybe go from not playing minutes, stepping up, giving us good minutes, trusting each other, leaning on each other. It takes a real group to be able to come together in those hard times on more than one occasion, and I thought we did that.”

It was Meyers Leonard on Monday. But it had been Evan Turner in Games 6 and 7 against Denver. Rodney Hood came off the bench to deliver a game-winning at the end of four overtimes after Enes Kanter had sealed a playoff-opening win with a two crucial late-game rebounds. Up and down the roster, the Blazers answered the call.

This year was always going to be defined by what the Blazers did in the playoffs. It was a core that had proved it could be consistently good but rarely great in years past. They had been swept out of consecutive playoffs and another early exit could have led to a major overhaul. Through adversity and with Lillard’s steady leadership guiding a collective push, the Blazers dashed preseason expectations and then exorcised their postseason demons.

“We all stayed ready,” Turner said. “Nobody really bailed out if things didn’t go their way. We stayed together as a team. I think that was the most special thing. We really stayed together as a team. You can really see how, in a lot of different ways, we grew as a team. We reached our full potential. Because before the season nobody really had us pegged to do any of this.”

You cannot capture this moment again. That’s not because the Blazers can’t get back to this stage, in fact, Lillard spent much his postgame press conference explaining exactly why he thinks his team showed they can repeat their run. That’s not because the nature of the business means this team will look a little different next season. The Blazers might come back better, stronger for having made this playoff push and wiser for passing the tests along the way.

This moment isn’t repeatable because expectations mute joy. The first time with its shocking unanticipated delight is always going to be the sweetest. The Blazers won’t be able to duplicate this even with identical results.

It’s why Seth Curry made sure to swap jerseys with his brother. It’s why Leonard made that last stop to grab a box score. It was a night to savor the memories and appreciate the ride.

“When you look back at this it’s going to be special for all of us individually and as a team,” Hood said. “We made it to the Western Conference Finals. People don’t understand how hard that is to do. And to do it in the Western Conference. And to play great basketball against the defending world champions. We can’t ask for nothing better.”

Chris Haynes Report: Damian Lillard expected to get $191M supermax deal from Trail Blazers this summer

Chris Haynes Report: Damian Lillard expected to get $191M supermax deal from Trail Blazers this summer

According to Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes, Damian Lillard is set to get a super max deal from the Trail Blazers this summer:

Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers are expected to come to terms over the summer on a four-year, $191 million supermax contract extension, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Technically, Lillard needs to make an All-NBA team from this season in order to qualify, but it is hard to imagine that not happening. 

Lillard still has two-years left on his current deal.

Following what was an impressive season for the Trail Blazers, including their first trip to the Western Conference Finals in 19 years, it is no surprise that a new deal would be worked out for Portland's #1 man. 

The offseason however, remains a major question mark for this team with several key players becoming free agents, not a lot of cap space to work with, and an injured Jusuf Nurkic.

More to come on Damian's contract, the Trail Blazers off-season plans and full NBA Draft and Free Agency coverage from Insider Dwight Jaynes and Reporter Jamie Hudson this off-season. 

Seth Curry reflects on losing to Steph, shares funny Game 4 moment

Seth Curry reflects on losing to Steph, shares funny Game 4 moment

Steph Curry is headed to his fifth straight NBA Finals.

Seth Curry is headed home for the summer.

The Warriors finished off their sweep of the Blazers in the Western Conference finals on Monday night, and await the winner of the Bucks-Raptors Eastern Conference finals.

Moments after overtime ended in Game 4, the Curry brothers shared a hug and exchanged jerseys before going their separate ways.

"Get it framed or something," Seth said when asked what he will do with Steph's jersey. "Definitely a special way to commemorate this series and this time. Like I said, I don't know if we'll ever be able to match up at this stage of the playoffs ever again, so it was a special time for both of us and something we'll always remember."

While there was quite a bit of chatter between the brothers on the court during the series, they likely won't talk for a while as Seth gets over the sting of his season ending. But once the NBA Finals are over, you can bet the two will get together and reflect on the experience of playing each other.

"I'm sure we'll talk about it," Seth told reporters in Portland after the game. "But just being able to match up against him and the Warriors, it's what you want as a competitor, and having it be against my brother makes it even more special for my family and something we'll remember for a long time. We don't know if this will ever happen again, so we just try to soak it in and compete at the same time."

In a high-pressure situation, the brothers were able to share a laugh. Steph went to the free throw line with 9:25 remaining in the fourth quarter, a situation he had been automatic in. Curry entered Game 4 having made 81 consecutive free throws in the fourth quarter or overtime of a playoff game.

Then he missed the first free throw and immediately turned to point at Seth. But it wasn't the younger brother who had something to say this time.

"Nah, actually he said something to me," Seth said. "He laughed [and said] 'Well, there you go.' He remember from a few games ago when I said he made however many in a row in the fourth quarter. Nah, it was just a funny time."

[RELATED: 2019 NBA Finals Schedule]

Seth is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, so he may not be back with Portland. Maybe he'll end up on an Eastern Conference team and the Curry brothers can meet in an NBA Finals.

For now, the brothers can cherish this moment, even if it ended bitterly for the younger one.

Sweep? Doesn't matter -- it was a great season for the Trail Blazers

Sweep? Doesn't matter -- it was a great season for the Trail Blazers

It was a great season for the Portland Trail Blazers. Let’s get that out of the way right here and now. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you anything different.

It doesn’t really matter that the Golden State Warriors completed the sweep of the Trail Blazers with a 119-117 overtime win Monday night in the Moda Center.

In the big picture, it’s meaningless, really. The Blazers weren't going to win the championship, anyway. The Warriors were always going to be too much for them and perhaps everyone else in the league.

The Trail Blazers accomplished too much this season to allow the outcome of this series to spoil what they did.

This was a team that Las Vegas figured might win 42 games. It was a team that wasn’t supposed to make the playoffs and, after the devastating injury to Jusuf Nurkic certainly wasn’t expected to win many playoff games, let alone a series.

But the Blazers won enough to capture the third seed in the Western Conference, then knocked off Oklahoma City in five games and won a seventh game on the road to decide their series with the Denver Nuggets.

This was a big step for this team, which can now go into next season knowing they were in the NBA’s Final Four and played the defending champions tough in three of the four games.

“I think it’s more than just the playoff run,” Coach Terry Stotts said. “I think the fact that we had a very good regular season, the fact that we were able to win two series, we were competitive in this series, even though it was a sweep – we played competitively.

“But I think (next season) is a long way away from now. I think when that time comes, we’ll be able to reflect. I think it’s a little too early to look at how this series helps us right now. Right now, it kind of stings.”

Damian Lillard, the captain, was not at all reluctant to put this accomplishment in perspective.
“It’s the Western Conference finals,” he said. “The other night after our game, I was looking for another game on TV and I was like, there’s two series going on right now and we’re one of them. For me, we’ve shown what we’re capable of. We can get it done. And our route here was as hard as anybody’s.
“We played the Thunder, great team. We played Denver, great team. So it wasn’t like we just eased our way in. We earned this. We got here. I think we showed this is who we are.

“This is what we’ve capable of. It’s not like some random thing. We’re in the playoffs every year. We bounce back every year regardless of how it ends. And this year we pushed it even further. So I think we showed we have it in us.

“So now we take this experience and move forward again. Obviously, you don’t want to go out with a sweep. We could have easily won every game. We just didn’t. Just got to keep going.

“We’ve shown that what we’ve been believing in and what we hang our hats on, works. That has taken time. We’ve invested a lot in our culture and our togetherness and that stuff. We’ve proven that works.

“We just ran up on a high-powered team and we still played well enough to beat them, but it was just those small lapses, those stretches when you give a game away against a team like that.”

Monday’s Game 4 was a lot like the previous two games, Portland frittered away a 17-point lead in the face of a Warrior charge and missed a chance to win the game at the end of regulation when Lillard’s right-handed hook shot trickled over the rim and then had another game-winner at the end of overtime when his three-pointer from the right corner missed.

What separated this game from all the others in the series, though, was the emergence of Meyers Leonard, not only in the starting lineup for the second straight game, but as a major factor in the game.

Leonard played 40:11, scored 30 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead his team in both categories. He was 10-12 from the field in the first half with 25 points but got only four shots in the second half.

But for a man whom Stotts had buried on the Blazer bench for a good portion of his seven seasons with the team, it was a big coming-out party.

And it left serious questions about why he hasn’t been used more frequently by a team that often hungers for another outside shooter. Leonard hit 5 of his 8 three-point shots in the game.

“Again, he, the first half was outstanding,” Stotts said. “Twenty-five points and he was playing with a lot of confidence. He certainly had an impact on the game, much like Game 3. And again, he played well and I’m happy for him.”

I would say Leonard was outstanding for more than the first half, he just didn’t get the ball much after intermission and that wasn’t his fault. Stotts normally throws compliments Leonard’s way about as frequently as it snows here in July.

But Golden State Coach Steve Kerr was willing.

“Meyers Leonard was fantastic,” Kerr said. “I thought the game softened up when Meyers Leonard started making threes. We had to make some adjustments and as soon as we did that, Damian’s eyes lit up. He started to see single coverage and he got going.”

The Warriors got their usual triple-double from Draymond Green, and it included a big three-pointer in overtime. Steph Curry also chalked up a triple-double that included 37 points and 13 rebounds.

The Trail Blazers have exit interviews scheduled for Tuesday and there will be full written and video coverage on this website.

And with that, a season that could almost qualify as magical, comes to an end.

Portland was the story of the playoffs, but got overwhelmed by Warriors

Portland was the story of the playoffs, but got overwhelmed by Warriors

PORTLAND -- A sea of red. A crowd worthy of a win. A team that hasn’t been there before.

Winning in the NBA is a process and the Portland Trail Blazers learned that the hard way in their four game sweep at the hands of the Golden State Warriors.

It’s not often that teams skip steps. The Denver Nuggets went from a team on the outside looking in last season to a double-overtime loss in Game 7 away from an appearance in the Western Conference Finals.

The Trail Blazers made a larger leap.  

After being swept in the first round last year, Portland became the best story the 2018-19 postseason. Their epic win over the Denver Nuggets proved that they were ready to compete with other up and comers.

With Monday’s Game 4 loss to the Warriors, the gap in experience was obvious and too much overcome.

“We couldn’t get over the hump,” Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said following the game. “I think it was more of a demonstration of how good they are and how good they have been over the years and they find ways to win.”

Down Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins and Andre Iguodala, the Warriors never seemed to miss a beat. They’re headed to a fifth straight NBA Finals and their experience level is far beyond anything any other team at this point.

“Our experience has really been a big factor in our success, not only this playoff run, but the last couple,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said earlier in the evening.

Despite leading by as many as 17 in the third quarter, the Trail Blazers allowed the Warriors to close within eight to end the third quarter and you could feel the momentum shift.

This was a theme of the series. Portland led in Game 2 by 17 and lost. They led by 18 points in the first half on their home floor in Game 3 and fell by a final of 110-99.

“There is a different intensity in the playoffs just naturally because it’s win or go home,” Stephen Curry said. “We know how to find that next gear and it comes with the experiences that we’ve been through.

While the two split the season series two games apiece, there is something different about the Warriors and postseason basketball.

“It’s so hard over 82 games to elevate to that level on a nightly basis, but when it matters most, we have nights like tonight where we just find a way,” Curry said.

The Warriors won 73 regular season games during 2015-16 season, but lost a seven game heartbreaking series to the Cavaliers in the finals that season. That defeat seemed to sharpen their focus on postseason play, which is one of the reasons why they’ve rattled off consecutive NBA championships.

For Portland, they haven’t been this far in the playoffs since the 1999-2000 season, long before Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum were hoisting triples at Moda Center.

Outside of reserve Rodney Hood, they don’t have a single player on their roster that has ever been to a conference finals and their leader in postseason appearances is Evan Turner, who has played in 63 games over his nine year career.

By comparison, Andre Iguodala has logged a 139 postseason contests and Kevin Durant is just a game behind with 138. Curry, Klay Thompson, Shaun Livingston and Draymond Green have all played over a 100 postseason games as well, many of which have come together as the core of the Warriors dynasty.

“It seems like these days, we’re always going to be more confident because we’ve been doing this for a long time and we’ve seen pretty much every situation and had to respond to it,” Kerr added.

Portland may have jumped a step or two in their progress. They will be better for the experience. They’ve learned what a championship team looks like when the chips are down.

“It’s the furthest we have played in the postseason, and that’s a bit deeper water than what we’ve seen,” Damian Lillard said. “It’s a bit more physical and mentally trying; the level of play is higher. There’s more on the line.”

The Blazers were able to take leads, but holding on to them against one of the great offensive clubs in history was too tall of a task.

There is no shame in losing a series to the Warriors. It was clear from the opening game that one team was celebrating the accomplishment of making it to the Western Conference Finals, while the other had a much larger focus in mind.

Portland can walk away with their heads held high and with a new appreciation for what it takes to get to the next level.