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Warriors sweep Blazers, clinch fifth-straight Finals berth

© Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports


The Warriors were due for an off night, and with no Andre Iguodala, it seemed like tonight would be that night, if ever such a night would come. It did not. The Warriors trailed the Trail Blazers again by double-digits, but came back (sound familiar?) to secure a 119-117 win. The win meant the Warriors became the second team in NBA history, the first since the 1956-57 Boston Celtics, to secure five-straight NBA Finals appearances:

Here are four thoughts from tonight’s game:

Steph stays hot, leads comeback

Aside from ending a streak of 81-straight free throws made in the playoffs in the fourth quarter, Curry was incredibly reliant for the Warriors’ offense. He secured a 37-point triple-double while doing all the jaw-dropping stuff (like this 40-footer near the end of the first half below) that he tends to do.

His only real mistake was a costly one, with 10.7 seconds left on the clock. After driving and getting blocked, he found himself wide open. Instead of taking the wide open two, Curry went for a three and traveled.

But that mishap aside, Curry was near-immaculate, leading the Warriors with 37 points (11-of-25, 7-of-16 from 3-pt, 8-of-9 from FT, 13 rebounds, 11 assists, a steal and 2 turnovers.

Draymond maintains energy, seals victory

Draymond Green was still fantastic, although not the “wrecking ball” he was last night in a 20-point performance. That’s not to take anything away from Green. It’s more a credit to his perfection in Game 3. He was astounding yet again, and combined with Curry to become the first two teammates to both put up triple-doubles in a game.

He finished with 18 points (7-of-13, 1-of-3 from 3-pt, 3-of-4 from FT), 14 rebounds, 11 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks and 6 turnovers, and no shot was bigger than the one Green hit to secure not just the sweep of the Blazers, but also the Warriors’ fifth-straight Finals appearance. Here it is:

Looney, McKinnie came through clutch with Iguodala out

Without either one of Kevon Looney and Alfonzo McKinnie, the Warriors would not have won tonight’s game. Their offensive rebounding won this game. Their effort and second-chance scoring provided points that no one else on the Warriors could provide and no one on Portland had the effort to defend against.

Looney finished with 12 points (5-of-7), 14 rebounds, a steal and a block, and absolutely manhandled the wings of the Blazers in key moments down the stretch. McKinnie started in place of the injured Andre Iguodala, and was absolutely huge when it counted. He tallied 12 points, and while he only secured 2 rebounds they were both on the offensive glass in crucial moments.

Meyers Leonard, the star of the Portland Trail Blazers

Meyers Leonard, yes, that Meyers Leonard, took on Stephen Curry for the honor of being the game’s high scorer. He looked much more like a healthy Kristaps Porzingis than the Leonard most have come to known. He showed last night, with a 16-point performance, that he was capable of catching fire, but tonight was something else. On multiple occasions, he called off one of either Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum… and he was right to.

In the first half, he was the Blazers’ most dominant force, draining everything in sight. He was near-immaculate from the field until late, finishing with 30 points on 12-of-16 shooting and 5-of-8 from behind the 3-point line. He also gave the Warriors serious trouble in the paint, grabbing 12 rebounds, although he was out-rebounded by Curry twice on the offensive glass on the same possession. Still, those are minor criticisms in what was an exemplary performance.

Leonard’s scoring lifted a massive weight of the struggling and injured Lillard (separated ribs), who had his best game of the series (28 points on 11-of-24 from the field, 4-of-12 from 3-pt, 12 assists, 4 rebounds), as well as McCollum, who also benefited with 26 points (10-of-22, 5-of-9 from 3-pt) and 7 assists. But Leonard wasn’t on fire late, and Lillard and McCollum both faded as the Warriors took hold of the game.

 

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