The Golden State Warriors are facing the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals. Both teams have great guards and it will become a shooting match between these teams. Who will win and head to the NBA Finals?
The narrative that the Warriors are running with is that they are still miles better than the other teams in the league even if Kevin Durant isn’t playing. They proved that when they won Game 6 against the Houston Rockets in the second round and the first game against the Blazers in the series.
Without Durant, the ball moves much better and there isn’t too much isolation basketball. Instead, we see a lot of screens that free up Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. What was odd to me was that the Blazers let Curry shoot whenever he used a screen. It’s as if the Blazers had never played the Warriors before. To beat the Warriors, Blazers have to trap Curry and Thompson and that was nowhere to be seen in Game 1.
Those adjustments will come in Game 2 because it is the best move to stop the Warriors from getting good looks. What was shocking was that the Warriors locked up the Blazers with great defense. We saw the Warriors go deep in their bench and it didn’t matter. Golden State was playing great basketball and their bench played great considering how little everyone seems to expect from them.
Blazers tried to have a scoring match with the Warriors and failed. They didn’t crack a hundred points and they should reconsider this strategy. Without Durant, the Warriors are still a serious threat and teams seem to be underestimating them. Blazers need solid games from Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum if they want to win and they will erupt but will still struggle in the series. Having Draymond Green and Andre Igoudala hounding you all game will make scoring hard and we saw just that.
I predict the Warriors to win in five games. The difference comes down to defense and I can’t see the Blazers playing great defense for the whole game. Houston might be the best team the Warriors faced in the playoffs so far and they looked great against them. The Blazers look like they are one player away from becoming great and until then, they will have to settle for making it to the Western Conference Finals.