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Western Conference Finals: Portland Trailblazers vs Golden State Warriors. Match-by-match analysis and predictions

Golden State Warriors
Photo credit via Flickr: Keith Allison
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UPDATE May 21st: Game 5 prediction

Portland appears to have had their chance to stay in the series but blew a significant half time lead at home in Game 3. The Warriors are an early three-point favorite with an over/under of 220. Normally, down 3-0 the pick would go for the home team to extend. However, there is little to indicate the Trailblazers can play well enough for four quarters to avoid a sweep. Go with Golden State to win, cover with the game going “under”.

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UPDATE May 21st: Game 4 result: Golden State 119, Portland 117 (Golden State wins series, 4-0)

As was the case during much of the series, Portland had a chance, but the Warriors got the job done in the clutch. The Trailblazers led at the half, 69-65 and 95-87 after three. In typical Golden State fashion, they tied the game last on a Steph Curry three and took the overtime period by two to seal the win and the series.

Steph Curry had a game-high 37 points and hit 7-of-16 from three-point range. Draymond Green, who is the unsung hero of the series, had a triple-double with 18 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists. Meyers Leonard was top scorer for Portland, dropping 30 on 12-of-16 from the floor, including 5-of-8 from beyond the arc. Damian Lillard added 28 points and 12 assists, while C.J. McCollum scored 26.

With the series win, the Warriors head to the NBA Finals for the fifth consecutive season, looking for their fourth title.

UPDATE May 19th: Game 4 prediction

Portland appears to have had their chance to stay in the series, but blew a significant half time lead at home in Game 3. The Warriors are an early three-point favorite with an over/under of 220. Normally, down 3-0 the pick would go for the home team to extend. However, there is little to indicate the Trailblazers can play well enough for four quarters to avoid a sweep. Go with Golden State to win, cover with the game going “under”.

UPDATE May 19th: Game 3 result : Golden State 110, Portland 99

The teams were nearly even after the first 12 minutes with Portland holding a slim 29-27 edge. After a stellar second quarter by Portland in which they scored 37 points, they took a 66-53 lead at the half. Appearing to be in good position to cut the series deficit to 2-1, the Warriors stole the momentum and took the lead after three, 82-79. In typical Warriors fashion, they dominated the rest of the way, winning going away by 11 points.

Steph Curry lead all players with 36 points, but Draymond Green was the star of the game, recording a triple-double with 20 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists. The Warriors hit just 30.8 percent from the floor, but held Portland to just over 40 percent. C.J. McCollum scored 23 in a losing effort, but hit just 7-of-20 from the floor and 7-of-12 from the free throw line. Damian Lillard was held to 19 points on just 5-of-18 from the floor. As a team, Portland shot just 20-of-33 from the line, which was a huge factor in deciding this game.

UPDATE May 17th: Game 3 prediction

The Warriors clearly are calm and collected in the post season, particularly during crunch time, often pulling out a win from the jaws of defeat. However, the Trailblazers are a proud franchise who has been excellent at home. The line on the game is 2 ½ in favor of Portland win an over/under of 221. In a must-win situation to avoid a nearly impossible 3-0 deficit, look for Portland to tighten up the defense. Bet on the “under” and the Trailblazers to win and cover.

UPDATE May 16th: Game 2 results: Golden State 114, Portland 111 (Golden State leads, 2-0)

The Trailblazers played a much better game overall, leading by two at the end of the first quarter and 65-50 at the half. The Warriors used a 39-point third-quarter to even the score at 89 heading into the fourth quarter. Portland appeared to regain control in the fourth, going up by eight with 4:10 to play. But much like in Game One, the Warriors turned the switch, as if by will and outscored the Trailblazers 14-3 the rest of way. Golden State won despite shooting a relatively poor 31 percent from three-point range.

Steph Curry led all players with 37 points, to go along with eight rebounds and eight assists. Klay Thompson added 24 points and Draymond Green scored 12 and led the Warriors with 10 rebounds. For the Trailblazers, Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum scored 23 and 22 points, respectively, but hit only 15-of-39 from the floor. Seth Curry scored 16 off the bench on 4-of-7 from beyond the arc and Maurice Harkless added 14.

UPDATE May 16th: Game 2 prediction

The Warriors have to feel good about themselves after a blowout win in Game 1. Portland looks to fight hard to avoid a 2-0 deficit heading back home. Golden State is a 7 ½ point favorite and the over/under is at 218 ½. Even without Kevin Durant, Warriors are very tough and with a chance of him returning for the second game, would make the Trailblazers chance more daunting. Look for a high scoring game and Golden State to win, but Portland should be much more competitive and cover.

Series preview

The NBA Western Conference has been owned by the Golden State Warriors in recent years, making four consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals, winning three of them. The Portland Trailblazers, who haven’t represented the conference in the finals since 1992, look to put an end to the Warriors’ dominance.

The Warriors enter as the top seed in the conference with a 57-25 record during the regular season.  They defeated the Los Angeles Clippers in the round in six games and James Harden and the Houston Rockets in six games. Portland entered as the number three seed with a 53-29 record. They took down the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games after being dominated by them during the regular season.  The Trailblazers advanced to the conference finals by overtaking the second seeded Nuggets in seven games.

Warriors playoff statistics

Kevin Durant is leading the team in scoring this post season, averaging 34.2 points and hitting 42 percent from beyond the arc. However, a calf injury will sideline him for at least the first two games in this series. DeMarcus Cousins will be out with a quad injury. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are hitting a combined 40 percent from three point range. Curry is averaging 25.2 points, while Thompson is averaging 18.8. Same as during the regular season, Draymond Green is leading the team in rebounding (9.3 per game) and assists (7.8 per game), while adding 12.5 points. Andre Iguodala, who seems to play his best basketball in the playoffs, is averaging 11.2 points and hitting 42 percent from long range.

Trailblazers playoff statistics

Much like during the regular season, the back-court duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum are pacing the Trailblazers. Lillard is averaging 27.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and six assists, hitting 38 percent from beyond the arc. McCollum had a huge Game 7 against Denver and is averaging 24.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 40 percent from three-point range. Enes Kanter has been tough on the boards, hauling in nearly 11 per game and averaging 12.7 points. Rodney Hood is adding 10.5 per game, while he and Seth Curry are hitting 40 percent from long range. Maurice Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu complete a balanced unit, adding a combined 17 points per game.

Game 1: Golden State 116, Portland 94

Golden State had a modest 27-23 lead at the end of the first quarter and 54-45 lead at the half. The Trailblazers cut into the lead by outscoring the Warriors by three, ending the third quarter trailing 77-71.  The Trailblazers never got any closer and the Warriors outscored Portland by a 39-23 margin in the fourth, winning easily by 22 to take a 1-0 lead in the best of seven series.

Steph Curry led the way with 38 points, hitting 9-of-15 from three-point range. Klay Thompson added 26 points, while Draymond Green added 12 points and a team high 10 rebounds. The Warriors hit 50.5 percent from the floor, including 51.5 percent from three-point range.

The Trailblazers shot only 36 percent from the floor, including 7-for-28 (25 percent) from beyond the arc. Damian Lillard led with 19 points and C.J McCollum added 17, but the duo combined to hit just 11-of-31 from the floor. Maurice Harkless added 17 points and Enes Kanter had 10 points and a game high 16 rebounds.

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