Golden State Warriors vs. Portland Trail Blazers: Western Conference Finals Preview
The battle for Western Conference supremacy is down to the final two teams. The top seed, Golden State Warriors, will face off against the three-seed Portland Trail Blazers. This will be an exciting series. It will kick off Tuesday, May 14th. The Warriors look to defend their crown and the Blazers look to continue to shock the world. But, only one team can advance to the NBA Finals. Who will it be? Lets take a look at this match-up.
Western Conference Finals Preview
Tale of the Tape
This series will feature two of the best offenses. The Warriors rank first among playoff teams in points per game (118.1). The Blazers are fifth (111.2) in the same category. Both teams are top five in three pointers made per game and three point percentage. The Warriors make 12.2 threes per game, shooting 37.2 percent. The Blazers make 11.4 threes per game and shoot 35.9 percent. The Warriors are the more efficient team. Overall, they shoot 48.6 percent from the field, which ranks first among playoff teams.
Defensively, both teams struggle to stop their opponents from scoring. The Warriors surrender 112.3 points per game. The Blazers surrender 109.8. Both teams are ranked near the bottom. But some will argue both teams went against opponents who have great offenses. However, opponents had a hard time shooting-wise against the Blazers. They held teams to around 43 percent shooting overall and just 33 percent from three.
The Battle of the Backcourts
This match-up will feature two of the best backcourts in the NBA. The Warriors have Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. The Blazers have Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Curry, Lillard, and McCollum rank in the top ten among players in the playoffs in scoring. Lillard leads everyone with 28.4 points per game. Thompson and McCollum were the keys in their close-out games in the second round. Thompson had 27 points in game six versus the Houston Rockets along with seven three pointers. McCollum. scored 37 points in game seven versus the Denver Nuggets.
Keys to Victory: Warriors
Kevin Durant is the key player for the Warriors. The Blazers do not have anyone on their roster who can match up with him. But, Durant’s health is in question. He strained his calf muscle last week versus the Rockets and missed game six. Reports have surfaced that Durant will miss games one and two of the Western Conference Finals. This could be a problem for the Warriors. They need Durant in order to win this series. For now, Draymond Green must step up offensively in his place. Green need to score in the double digits. Currently, he averages 12.6 points per game in the postseason.
Keys to Victory: Trail Blazers
Rebounding will be key for the Blazers. They must win that battle in every game in this series. The Blazer must eliminate second and third chances from the Warriors. Currently, the Blazers have a -1.3 rebounding differential. They are ranked 14th in opponent rebounding, surrendering 48.0 per game. Center Enes Kanter must continue to crash the boards. He’s ranked fourth in the playoffs in rebounds, averaging 10.6 per game. Also, the Blazers role players must provide a lift offensively. Players such as Rodney Hood, Zach Collins, and Seth Curry must increase their scoring averages in the playoffs. All eyes will be on Hood. He leads all bench players with 9.9 points per game
This series will be an exciting one. This series features two of the best backcourt duos in the NBA. The Blazers are hungrier than ever and look to prove their run is not a fluke. The Warriors fended off perhaps their biggest threat in the West last round. The Blazers have what it takes to compete with the Warriors. They won two out of their four regular season meetings with them. Not having Durant for the first two games will certainly affect the Warriors. But they have won without him before. The Blazers must steal at least one of the first two games in this series. In the end, the Warriors will be left standing. Durant will return at some point and prove to be the main reason why the Warriors are nearly indestructible.
Warriors in Six.