May 14, 2019
By Frank Ammirante
2018-19 Portland Trail Blazers Vs Golden State Warriors Season Series
Nov. 23, 2018 – POR 97, GS 125
Dec. 27, 2018 – POR 110, GS 109 (OT)
Dec. 29, 2018 – GS 115, POR 105
Feb. 13, 2019 – GS 107, POR 129
NBA Western Conference Finals Series Matchups
Starting Lineups & Bench
Portland Trail Blazers
PG- Damien Lillard/Seth Curry
SG- CJ McCollum/Rodney Hood
SF- Al-Farouq Aminu/Evan Turner
PF- Mo Harkless/Zach Collins
C- Enes Kanter/Meyers Leonard
INJURIES: Jusuf Nurkic
Golden State Warriors
PG- Stephen Curry/Quinn Cook
SG- Klay Thompson/Shaun Livingston
SF- Andre Iguodala/Jonas Jerebko
PF- Draymond Green/Jordan Bell
C- Andrew Bogut/Kevon Looney
INJURIES: Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins
Breaking Down The Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers have been led by their star-studded backcourt throughout this playoff run. Damien Lillard has averaged 28.4 PPG on 43.1 FG%, while CJ McCollum has put up 25.6 PPG on 45.5 FG%. These two will need to shoot the lights out for the Blazers to hang with the Durant-less Warriors. Portland has received solid contributions from Enes Kanter (12.9 PPG, 10.6 RPG). He might be able to exploit the Warriors’ lack of rim protection, but he also will be pushed off the court when Steve Kerr decides to go small, because Kanter is a lackluster defender. Zach Collins has also given Portland some nice production off the bench – he will also need to continue to play well in this series.
Breaking Down The Golden State Warriors
The defending champs will likely be without their superstar Kevin Durant and big man DeMarcus Cousins throughout the entirety of this series, but the team went back to their free-flowing ways in an impressive Game 6, close-out win in Houston. Andre Iguodala stepped up in that game, with a playoff-high 17 points. The Warriors were able to show the rest of the NBA that they can still win a title without KD. This does not bode well for Portland. The Blazers do not have enough perimeter D to slow down Curry or Klay, so their best chance at making this a series is for Dame and CJ to out-gun their G-State counterparts. They will need to do what Lou Williams did in Round 1; in the two Clippers wins, Lou dropped 33 and 36 points.
I think that this is going to be a very difficult series for Portland. I do not think that they match up well with the Warriors, even without Durant. During the season, the Blazers ranked 16th in defensive efficiency. In the playoffs, they have ranked 8th out of 16 teams. This kind of defense is not good enough to defeat the Warriors. I think that the only way that Portland makes this a series is if Lillard and McCollum absolutely light it up. The Blazers have had a terrific run but this is the end for them.
VERDICT: Golden State Warriors in 5
I think that Portland will be able to steal a game from G-State at home with some Lillard fireworks. I also believe that the Durant injury has woken up the Warriors; they are finally facing some adversity. They rose to the occasion in Game 6 vs. Houston and I believe that they will keep this up in the Conference Finals.
Playing Game 1 On www.statementgames.com? My Top Three OVER/UNDER Basketball StatementGames Picks
10 Point Pick: Golden State OVER 113.5 points
The Blazers do not have the perimeter defense to slow down this Golden State attack. The Warriors light up the scoreboard, especially at home.
9 Point Pick: Golden State will win by OVER 8.5 points
After a grueling 7 game series vs. the Nuggets, I have a feeling that the Blazers will come out flat in Game 1 in the toughest environment in the NBA.
8 Point Pick: Klay Thompson OVER 24.5 PTS
With Durant out, Klay takes on more of a prominent offensive role. I expect him to hit 30 in Game 1.