The West may have been the Golden State Warriors’ playground in the last 4 seasons, but the Portland Trail Blazers look to shake things up
Published 9:00 PM, May 14, 2019
Updated 9:00 PM, May 14, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – The Golden State Warriors may own homecourt advantage in Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference finals, but come tip-off, it’s the Portland Trail Blazers who are looking like the more dangerous team.
Already playing without star center DeMarcus Cousins, the three-peat hunting Warriors head to Game 1 also without the services of two-time Finals MVP Kevin Durant, who is nursing a right calf strain.
Prior to going down in Game 5 against the Houston Rockets, Durant was above and beyond their leading scorer for the playoffs at 34.2 points per game, nearly 10 points more than two-time MVP Stephen Curry. He’s already been ruled out of Game 1 and remains doubtful for Game 2.
Apart from steady stalwarts like Curry and Klay Thompson, head coach Steve Kerr now has to squeeze more offense out of defensive anchors Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala. Bench players like Quinn Cook and Kevon Looney also have to shoulder more offensive responsibilities.
As the Warriors are left to make hasty adjustments, the Trail Blazers have been peaking at the right time.
With Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum playing at an elite level as usual, role players like Enes Kanter and Rodney Hood have filled the gap left by starting big man Jusuf Nurkic.
Al-Farouq Aminu, Mo Harkless and Steph’s little bro Seth Curry have been integral pieces to Portland’s first conference finals appearance in nearly two decades. (READ: Curry brother rivalry adds spice to NBA West finals)
The Blazers have also shown enough poise to get out of sticky situations, as evidenced by their 17-point comeback in Game 7 on the road against the Denver Nuggets.
So mark your calendars and expect a thrilling series! (GAME SCHEDULE: NBA Western and Eastern Conference finals 2019)
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