The Golden State Warriors, led by triple-doubles from Draymond Green and Steph Curry, defeated the Portland Trailblazers119-117 in overtime in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals to complete a 4-0 sweep.
Curry led all scorers with 37 points. He also added 13 rebounds and 11 assists for a triple-double. Green posted his second-straight triple double with 18 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists.
The Warriors will face the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Toronto Raptors. Greek Freak and the Bucks hold a 2-1 edge over the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors won Game 3 at home in Toronto. They host the top-seeded Bucks in Game 4 on Tuesday.
The Warriors advanced to their fifth-straight NBA Finals. The Warriors won three out of the last four years. The Boston Celtics, during their dynasty in the 1960s, were the last team to make five-consecutive appearances int he finals.
The long slog of the playoffs caught up to the Portland Trailblazers. The Blazers only needed five games to pick off Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Warriors. However, they needed the full seven against the Denver Nuggets. The Blazers played four games in the high altitude of Denver in the Western Semifinals. They also survived a 4OT game in Portland along the way.
Once again, the Blazers were unable to hold off a late surge from the Warriors. The Blazers blew a 17-point lead in three consecutive games, including an 18-point lead in Game 3.
CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard combined for 54 points in Game 4 including 9-for-21 from three-point range. Lillard has been playing the last few games with separated ribs, but he did not want that to be an excuse for his poor shooting performances.
Lillard missed a chance to win the game with a final shot as time expired in overtime. He came up short and the Warriors held on for the victory.
“I thought it was going to (go in),” said Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. “Kind of meant to be. When he shot it, it had a good arc. I thought it had a chance.”
Meyers Leonard added 30 points and 12 rebounds in a losing cause. Rodney Hood and Seth Curry scored a combined 8 points off the bench for the Blazers.
The sweep for the Golden State Warriors secured them nine days off before the NBA Finals. Some coaches do not like a significant lag time off between series. However, the Warriors are all banged up and they could use nine extra days to allow both Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala.
The Warriors lost Kevin Durant to a calf injury in Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Houston Rockets. Without Durant, the Rockets were unable to gain an edge. It gave fans a sigh of relief and heady reminder that the Warriors were a great team before Durant joined the squad three years ago. With Durant, the Warriors were unstoppable and were competing for a third-straight title.
Andre Iguodala injured his calf in Game 3 of the Portland series. Iggy was not even in the lineup for Game 4. Even without two key starters for the Warriors, the Blazers were still 2-point home dogs. The Warriors smelled blood in the water and the Blazers were out of gas.
Steve Kerr relied on his bench once again to produce big minutes and hold the line. Kerr Started Jordan Bell and Alfonzo McKinnie in Game 4, while Kevin Looney came off the bench to scored 12 points and haul down 14 rebounds.
“We’ve had guys step up all along this entire time,” said Draymond Green. “We’re going to look forward to those guys continuing to step up, no matter what happens with the injuries that we have.”
Even without KD in crunch time, the veteran crew did not panic when they were down 17-plus points in the last three games.
“We just really understand what we’re capable of on both sides of the basketball,” added Green. “We’re never out of the fight. That’s just always our mindset.”