Wednesday’s playoffs preview provides NBA tips for Game 1 between the Golden State Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers, with the defending champs looking to overcome the ongoing absence of Kevin Durant.
11:00 (AEST), Wed 15th May @ Oracle Arena
History: Played 238: Trail Blazers 126 V Warriors 112
Last meeting: February 13, 2019: Trail Blazers 129 d Warriors 107 at Moda Center
Final Thoughts: The Portland Trail Blazers are into the Western Conference Finals for the first time since the 1999-2000 season. But do they have any chance of stopping the Golden State Warriors juggernaut?
After eliminating the Thunder 4-1 in the First Round, the Trail Blazers came from 3-2 down to beat the Nuggets in seven games in a wild Semi-finals series.
The Blazers’ 100-96 Game 7 win in Denver was monumental. They trailed by 12 at the end of the first quarter but clawed back to end almost two decades of Semi-finals disappointment.
CJ McCollum (37 pts, 9 ast) came up big with Damian Lillard (13 pts, 10 reb, 8 ast) taking a back-seat in the scoring department.
The Warriors were taken to six games by both the Clippers and the Rockets. Their series against Houston was delicately poised at 2-all. But the two-time defending champs grinded out two five-point wins book their Conference Finals berth.
With Kevin Durant sidelined, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson stepped up in timely fashion with a combined 60 points in Game 6. KD is still out, which provides an opening for Portland.
The teams met in the 2016 and ’17 playoffs, with the Warriors surging to 4-1 and 4-0 series results respectively.
But the Blazers have won four of their last six games against the Warriors.
They snapped a 13-game losing streak at Oracle Arena with a 110-109 overtime win in late-December. Portland also carved out a 129-107 victory in Portland in the teams’ most recent clash in February. Lillard (29 pts, 8 ast) was the standout in a superb team performance.
Golden State have had more of a rest, but without Durant there is real value in Portland with a big start.