The legend of Seth vs Steph in the Western Conference Finals

The legend of Seth vs Steph in the Western Conference Finals

The Portland Trail Blazers needed every advantage they could get in their Western Conference series against the Golden State Warriors, and in Games 2 and 3 it looked early on like one of the answers might just be Seth Curry and his lifetime of experience playing older brother Stephen Curry. 

No doubt Blazers fans will remember Game 2 fondly, and the legend of Curry vs. Curry has already started to grow. But just how much did little brother actually bother big brother?

The initial results aren't great. Stephen Curry scored a combined 73 points in Games 2 and 3, and his assist totals, field-goal shooting, and plus/minus was stellar. 

But the younger Curry did get his digs at big bro, and all of Seth's steals in Game 3 came against Steph. 

So what should we really think about the family rivalry that budded in the Western Conference Finals in 2019? How much did Seth throw his MVP sibling off his game?

Watch the video above to see the full breakdown and the verdict.

 

Fate? Destiny? Keanon Lowe's heroics stem from a life full of preparation and integrity

Fate? Destiny? Keanon Lowe's heroics stem from a life full of preparation and integrity

PORTLAND- Keanon Lowe’s recount of how he disarmed a student who police said carried a shotgun into a classroom, prohibiting a tragic shooting at Parkrose High School, is bone chilling.

20 seconds.

Lowe entered the classroom in the Fine Arts building on Friday 20 seconds before the door re-opened and Lowe was face-to-face with an armed high school senior. The former Oregon Ducks wide receiver was faced with a life or death decision.

It’s the third school gun incident this month in the United States. In all three instances, the shooter was tackled; one of the tacklers lived and two died for their efforts.

Did Lowe ever think to run?

“Never,” he said.

“In a fraction of a second, I analyzed everything really fast, saw the look in his face, looked at his eyes, looked at the gun, I realized it was a real gun and then my instincts just took over,” Lowe said.

“I lunged for the gun, put two hands on the gun, and he had his two hands on the gun. The students were running out of the classroom and screaming. I was just making sure the barrel of the gun isn’t pointed towards them or towards me. I was able to wrestle it away.”

Right place. Right time. But to truly understand how the 27-year-old head football coach came to be just three feet from the barrel of a shotgun, you have to go back… The story didn’t start when Lowe, who is also a school security guard, was called to that classroom to take a student back to the office with him, a task he does 30-40 times a day.

The right life experiences and a myriad of decisions led him to be incredibly brave and decisive in a terrifying moment.

The Jesuit high school graduate’s instincts earned him Oregon 6A Defensive Player of the Year as a defensive back while also playing running back and wide receiver as a senior. From 2010-14, Lowe played for the Oregon Ducks and was voted “Oregon’s Most Inspirational Player” by his teammates as a senior. Although he put up plenty of statistics, the first line on his roster profile couldn’t sum him up more perfectly:

“His contributions could not be documented merely by statistics despite looming as one of Oregon’s top three receivers through the first six games.”

Lowe became an assistant on former Oregon coach Chip Kelly’s NFL staffs at Philadelphia and then San Francisco. Lowe's passion to work with kids urged him to leave the NFL. He felt like he had a solid foundation to use the knowledge that he had to take on a bigger role.

The goal was to find his voice as a head coach, help mold the next generation and give them someone to count on.

When he took over the Parkrose football program one year ago, he joined Aaron Fentress and me on The Bridge on NBC Sports Northwest. Call it foreshadowing, call it what you want, but he took the job “to make a difference in the community.”

He’s done just that. Who knows how many lives he saved and impacted on that Friday in Portland. Life prepared Lowe for that moment.

“In that situation, a lot of us would freeze up, or kinda back out and not know what to do,” Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard said of Lowe after giving him tickets to Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. “For him to take that type of stand, and to go and tackle the kid and protect all those people and himself, that’s a real hero move. That’s a big move. That’s big time of him.”

The story doesn’t end after Lowe wrestled and disarmed 19-year-old Angel Granados Diaz . The students rushed out of the classroom, it was just Lowe and Diaz and the emotions that took over. The two had a conversation.

In that moment when anger could have taken over, Lowe chose compassion. 

“He broke down and I just wanted to let him know that I was there for him,” Lowe said. “I told him I was there to save him. I was there for a reason and that this is a life worth living."

It could be argued that Lowe found his voice.

Police arrived, apprehended the student and took him into custody. Diaz made his first court appearance Monday, where he pleaded not guilty to charges of reckless endangerment, possession of a firearm, and carrying a firearm into a public building.

During Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, the Trail Blazers honored Lowe’s heroics. 20,000 fans stood in pride of their hometown hero, while he stood with his hand over his heart. Call it fate or call it destiny, but know that Lowe’s actions derived from a life full of preparation and integrity.

Social media shows love for the Trail Blazers as special season comes to an end

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Social media shows love for the Trail Blazers as special season comes to an end

Before the season started few experts picked the Blazers to make the playoffs. The Blazers proved them all wrong and ended up with the third best record in the Western Conference.

Once they made the playoffs, no one gave them a chance to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder. They silenced the doubters and beat OKC in five games.

In the semifinals, no one thought they could beat the No.2 Denver Nuggets. All Portland did was take them to seven games and knock them out of the playoffs on Denver's home court.

Then, in the Western Conference Finals for the first time in 19 years, no one gave them a chance to defeat the defending champs. Well, this time they were finally right. The Blazers magical ride came to end, but oh what an incredible ride it was!

Following the final buzzer of the season, fans took to social media show their love for their favorite team. 

 

What They’re Saying ahead of Game 4: There’s no quit in Damian Lillard

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What They’re Saying ahead of Game 4: There’s no quit in Damian Lillard

The Portland Trail Blazers are down 0-3 to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. No team has overcome such a deficit, but the Blazers aren’t out of the NBA Playoffs just yet. 

Portland will look to keep its season alive on Monday night, as they face off against the Warriors on home court in Game 4. Here’s a look at What They’re Saying ahead of the Blazers must-win game. 

Damian Lillard knows the odds of an 0-3 comeback aren't in Portland’s favor, but the Trail Blazers guard told Benjamin Hoffman of the New York Times he’s not giving up.

“You know, you look at the numbers and there’s a slim chance of you winning the series like that, but we’ve got a lot to play for. Obviously you never know when the first time it’s going to happen. We could be the first team to do it.”

On Skip and Shannon: UNDISPUTED, former NBA player Kendrick Perkins told moderator Jenny Taft that he felt the Blazers have overachieved in the NBA Playoffs, while the Warriors are focused on making a point.

“Portland has overachieved. They good where they at, making it to the Western Conference Finals. I think we’ve seen that after Game 7, Dame getting emotional…I think that this is more about Golden State proving to the world that they can win without Kevin Durant.”

If the Blazers do get swept on Monday night, there’s a lot basketball fans can still be thankful for in this series. The Curry brothers’ rivalry is on the list. For the Win’s Charles Curtis shared a thank you note to the Curry bros.

“There was that trash talk between Steph and Seth. There have been moments when they’ve stolen basketballs from each other or splashed a three in each other’s faces. But there’s also been the entertainment from their parents Dell and Sonya, who have worn half-Blazers and half-Warriors jerseys to root on both their kids.”

Shaun Powell of NBA.com says that while Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers are further in the postseason than they’ve been in 19 years, Lillard and McCollum will have to pull off a jaw-dropping performance to extend their season. 

“So what’s left of the Blazers? Unless there’s a premium performance coming from Lillard and McCollum in Game 4, their season is likely done after Monday night. With Green and Stephen Curry looking nostalgic, the Warriors have that 2015 feeling when they won a title without Durant. The Warriors also know they’ll get nine days’ rest with a sweep, as if they need any further motivation.

At this point, all the Blazers have is their pride, with none bigger than Lillard’s.”

Game 4 tips off on Monday at 6:00 p.m. at the Moda Center in Portland. 

How Chris Mullin sees 'huge difference' in Warriors, Blazers backcourts

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How Chris Mullin sees 'huge difference' in Warriors, Blazers backcourts

Damian Lillard is having a tough go at it, and it's not about to get any easier.

Lillard reportedly has a separated rib, and he and the Portland Trail Blazers now face an extremely steep uphill battle to dig themselves out of a three-games-to-none series deficit against the Warriors in the Western Conference finals.

Game 4 is Monday night, and if Lillard and his backcourt mate CJ McCollum don't find a way to be more efficient scorers -- they've combined for 35.2 percent shooting from the field thus far -- it could mean the end of Portland's season.

Of course, Lillard and McCollum aren't shooting in a vacuum. They're going up against a talented Warriros defense that's employing a strategy designed to make them uncomfortable.

"Steve Kerr’s defensive strategy coming in, I think was great," Hall of Famer Chris Mullin said after the Blazers Game 3 loss Saturday. "Looks to me [the Warriors] all bought into it, and they love it. They’re really thriving in it. They’re getting the ball out of CJ McCollum’s hands, Damian Lillard’s hands, and that’s frustrating them. They want the ball back."

Mullin knows Lillard and McCollum are more than capable of catching fire at any moment. But unfortunately for Portland, that's not exclusive to the Blazers in this series.

“They’re great players, they really, really are," Mullin said of Lillard and McCollum. "They can really score the ball. They’re two of the best guards -- probably the second-best backcourt in the league.

“There’s a huge difference between No. 1 and No. 2.”

The No. 1 backcourt being referred to, of course, is that of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. The Splash Brothers are having a far more proficient series, compared to the Blazers' backcourt, and Mullin believes that's partly because they're more difficult to strategize against.

"What Steve Kerr’s done, he knows what [Lillard and McCollum] don’t like to do, and he’s making them do it," Mullin explained. "So when they give the ball up, that’s wearing on them, I think, mentally and physically. When you see Steph give it up, he almost gets more energized, because he loves running off screens. Same with Klay. 

"I think it’s had a negative effect on [Lillard and McCollum's] energy," Mullin continued, "because that’s not what they want to do. They’re not as comfortable without the ball. I think it’s had an effect across the board, so I give credit to the strategy that Steve has come into the series with, and then a lot of credit to the players for executing it."

Given that the Warriors have prevailed in each of the first three games of the series while employing that same strategy, it's unlikely they'll go away from what has proven to be effective when they take the floor for Game 4 at Moda Center on Monday night. If Golden State can continue making Lillard and McCollum uncomfortable, Portland's season could be on borrowed time.

Based on what he's seen, Mullin isn't expecting a potential Game 5 to be necessary.

"Get the brooms out," he said.

Down 0-2 in the Western Conference Finals, Portland Trail Blazers up to the challenge in Game 3

Down 0-2 in the Western Conference Finals, Portland Trail Blazers up to the challenge in Game 3

After a stellar start from the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 2, the Golden State Warriors climbed back from a 17-point deficit to stun the Blazers with 52 seconds left on the clock. 

An Andre Iguodala steal from Damian Lillard sealed the deal and the Blazers fell 0-2 in the Western Conference Finals to the two-time defending NBA champions. 

Before the series heads back to Rip City, let’s take a look at what you missed from the Blazers 114-111 loss on Thursday night. 

The first words out of Warriors coach Steve Kerr’s mouth on Tuesday night was “we stole the game.” Agree or disagree with Kerr one thing is certain: the game was within the Trail Blazers grasp and they didn’t hold onto it.

Dwight Jaynes broke down the final play that gave the Warriors a 2-0 lead with the series shifting to Portland: Did the Warriors "steal" that game or did the Blazers just hand it to them?

The battle between Seth and Steph Curry finally lived up to the hype. Little brother not only stole the ball from his older brother, but he also stole the show. 

Jamie Hudson recapped Seth Curry's 16 point night: Seth Curry “watches more basketball than anyone I've ever met”

Jamie Hudson and Dwight Jaynes shared their initial thoughts after the Blazers let their big lead slip away: Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the Trail Blazers loss to the Golden State Warriors in Game 2

 

The Blazers are 0-2 heading back to Portland. While Portland is hoping to keep its season alive, Lillard doesn’t think he’s played his last game in the storied Oracle Arena

 

Game 3 tips off on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. at the Moda Center in Portland, and Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are ready. 

Former Duck Jordan Bell shines in the spotlight

Former Duck Jordan Bell shines in the spotlight

Jordan Bell. It's a name known well in the Pacific Northwest. After Thursday's performance in the Western Conference Finals, it's also a name well known in the city of Oakland, San Francisco Bay, and the entire NBA. 

The second-year big man out of the University of Oregon has had his ups and downs with Golden State. He has been in and out of the rotation over the last two seasons, has had his maturity questioned, and has had to rebuild the team's confidence in him. 

He's had verbal spats with teammates and coaches, and in March of this season, Bell was suspended for "conduct detrimental to the team." It was later reported that he made purchases at a team hotel and had them charged to assistant coach Mike Brown without his permission.

At the time, it almost felt like the end of the rope for Bell's career: A "here we go again" moment for the Warriors and their young forward. But instead of rolling over, Bell took it on the chin and bounced back. Despite spot minutes and DNPs, he continued to focus on his game. Not just his basketball game, but his mental game. 

"I think he's evolved mostly mentally... You know, he's gotten more intelligent," teammate Draymond Green after the Warriors Game 2 victory. "I think all those things are great but more important than all of that, his mental. His professionalism. I think that's where he's grown the most and I think right now, that's paying off for him the most."

All the hard work culminated in a breakout playoff performance against the Blazers on Thursday. Bell played just 14 minutes, but his impact was large. He scored 11 points, pulled down three rebounds, and added two steals, a block, and an assist for the two-time defending champs. He stuffed the stat sheet, helping the Warriors seal the deal with a come from behind victory. 

“Jordan did a really good job for us tonight with his energy," Andre Iguodala said of Bell. 

[He] is one of those guys who has got that energy. He thrives off the spotlight. He enjoys being in those moments and people are watching him. He takes advantage of that.

A lot of Blazers fans know exactly what Iguodala means. Fans in Oregon have been watching Bell come up big ever since he stepped on the court for the Ducks in 2014. His junior year, he helped lead to the Ducks to an appearance in the Final Four, where he had a 13 points, 16 rebounds and a four block performance in the Ducks' loss to the North Carolina Tar Heels. 

It was the biggest stage in college basketball, and Bell basked in the spotlight. Now on the biggest stage in the NBA, Bell has found a way to do it again. 

"It's a good series for him. It's a good matchup. The way we're playing suits him," said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. "We need a lot of speed out there. I think the last three games, Game 6 in Houston and the first two games here, he's kind of settled down and he's been very comfortable. Very relaxed. He's not in a rush and he's playing good basketball, so he will continue to get minutes."

If Bell continues to get minutes, he could be a problem for the Blazers as the series shifts to Portland. The second-year player blocks shots, gets rebounds and does the little things the Warriors need from their bench unit to bury the Blazers. 

How does Bell go about making sure he gets those minutes? According to Green, it goes back to his maturity.

"It's not like he's out there taking seven mid-range jump shots. He's just playing hard," Green said. "It's the staying ready, being in the gym nonstop, even when you're not playing for 10 games straight, staying in the gym, being there early and getting the work in.

"That's what's paying off for him now."  

It's paying off in key playoff minutes, clutch playoff performances, and most of all, it's paying off with a heightened state of confidence from his teammates.

"When his number gets called, he's either going to be ready or not," Green said. "We have confidence in Jordan because we know how it's been going in the gym all year long."

More than the confidence of his teammates, getting the call has boosted Bell's confidence in himself.

When you’re playing, that’s the most confidence right there. Just experience. I was lacking on that...When the coach calls your name in Game 6 against Houston at their place, and a game where we can possibly end it there, it gives you a lot of confidence going into the (next) series.”

Do the Warriors need Bell to win their third-straight title? Probably not. Does it hurt the cause when Bell is playing with confidence and shines on the big stage? Absolutely not.

Bell has a large fan base rooting for him and it's not just rooted in Oakland.  Up north in enemy territory, the Ducks fanbase is cheering hard. Not for Warriors wins, but for their former star.

Seth Curry reveals how he tried to trash talk Steph in Warriors' Game 2 win

Seth Curry reveals how he tried to trash talk Steph in Warriors' Game 2 win

Seth Curry tried to turn back the clock and play the role of pesky little brother on Thursday night. He did it well, too, stealing the ball from older brother Steph four times and scoring 16 points off the bench in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals. 

Before the Warriors eventually escaped Seth's Blazers, 114-111, to take a two-games-to-none lead in the best-of-seven series, the younger Curry tried to distract his elder at the free throw. Good luck with that. 

"He [Steph] made the first one [free throw] and I told him that was like 70 in a row," Seth told reporters after the game. "I tried to jinx him a little bit. He was like, 'Alright, it's gonna be 72.' He made 'em both."

Take a look at the brotherly love below: 

"He tried to distract me at the free throw line in the fourth quarter," Steph said, "and I knew how to kind of go back at him to stay focused on what I needed to do." 

[RELATED: Seth impactful, but Steph wins Curry brothers' Game 2 battle]

Older brother Steph got the better of Seth in what was truly a battle of the Curry family that has their parents on an emotional roller coaster. The Warriors' star point guard scored a game-high 37 points and added eight assists and eight rebounds in the win. 

The brothers' next chance to one-up each other comes Saturday in Game 3 at the Moda Center in Portland.

Trail Blazers drop Game 1 to Warriors, 'We did this to ourselves'

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Trail Blazers drop Game 1 to Warriors, 'We did this to ourselves'

OAKLAND -- Was it Game 1 jitters or did fatigue play a role in the Portland Trail Blazers’ 22-point loss Tuesday evening at Oracle Arena?

After battling the Denver Nuggets and coming away with a Game 7 victory on Sunday, the Blazers flew directly to Oakland to prepare for the Warriors. They looked gassed and for good reason.

“Having played a tough emotional game two nights ago, that could play into it but I don’t think anybody will use that as an excuse,” coach Terry Stotts said following the 116-94 loss.

The postseason has been an emotional rollercoaster for the Trail Blazers. Dramatic come from behind victories, buzzer beater shots and an extremely emotional finally on the road in Denver looked like it took its toll.

“I mean, obviously it’s a difficult physically, you know, and a little bit emotional just because you’re excited about being in the Western Conference Finals,” Lillard told a packed media room following the loss. “You win seven games, got one on the road and you’re excited about that and you have to come straight here right from Denver and start prep and get ready for the best team in the league right now.”

With hardly any recovery time and not even a day to gameplan, Portland looked disorganized and sluggish at times.

They’re starting backcourt shot a combined 11-for-31 from the floor. Their bigs didn’t even show on high screens while Steph Curry and Klay Thompson launch without challenge.

“Yeah, that was very poor execution, you know, defensively on our part,” Lillard added. “Just having our bigs back that far; understanding the team we are playing against, they are not going to shoot mid-range jumpers and try to attack the rim.”

Coming off a series against a Nuggets team that runs their entire offense through center Nikola Jokic takes a completely different strategy than defending two of the greatest perimeter shooters to ever play the game. With a month to prepare, Portland would still be in trouble.

“You can prepare, in terms of going over certain things and tendencies they like to do, but a lot of it is just basketball,” C.J. McCollum said. “They make good basketball plays. Moving without the ball, their role players are constantly setting screens, their bigs are constantly looking and guys that can’t shoot, don’t shoot. That’s why they are so successful.”

Golden State has raised the Championship banner two straight years and three of the last four. Not only are they extremely talented, they have a massive advantage in experience that will be difficult for any team to overcome.

Portland hasn’t been in this situation before and it showed in game one. They shot just 36.1 percent from the floor. They turned the ball over 21 times. They allowed the Warriors to shoot 50 percent from the field and 51.5 percent from long range. You can’t beat the champs with these types of stats.

With just a day of recovery and still no trip home, the Blazers have to find a way to mentally and physically overcome some tremendous obstacles if they hope to make a series out of this.

“We did this to ourselves,” McCollum added. “We went to a seven game series and that’s what happens. You got to travel, your back is against the wall a little bit and they were able to take care of business in six games, so they were able to get a little bit more rest. No excuses, we got to be ready to play on Thursday.”

As the old adage goes, a playoff series never truly begins until the road team wins a game. With just a day to make adjustments and recover, Portland is in a tough spot. The Trail Blazers might need a huge boost from their home crowd over the weekend if they hope to avoid a quick out.

 

Coaches and players react to Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals

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Coaches and players react to Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals

The Blazers trailed early, rallied late, but eventually fell to the Warriors in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. 

So what did the players and coaches think of the game? Take a listen for yourself. Just follow the links below for the full press conferences, and be sure to follow us on Twitter for LIVE video from the press conference following Game 2.