The Golden State Warriors pulled off a double-digit comeback win for the third straight game on Monday night to sweep the Blazers and return to the NBA Finals for the fifth straight time with a 119-117 overtime win at Portland. The Warriors overcame 17- and 18-point deficits in games 2, 3 and 4 in this series. They also became the first team since the 1957-56 Celtics (10 times) to reach the NBA Finals five straight times.
The Blazers were up by about 10 for much of the second and third quarters, and 17 points at one time, but missed 11 of their first 14 shots in the fourth quarter, which ended up being their undoing. There were a ton of key shots in this one, but the three I thought were most important are as follows. Meyers Leonard, who had the game of his life, got a monster dunk to put the Blazers up 111-108 with 1:53 left in the game after Evan Turner fouled Stephen Curry on the other end, but it wasn’t called. Steph got the turnover, Leonard got the ball and put the dunk down for a 3-point lead with the game on the line.
Steph then got called for a travel (rightly so) when he tried to turn a 2-point opportunity into a 3-point shot, but drug his feet to get behind the line, and was subsequently called for another turnover. And, of course, he hit the 3-point shot, but it was waived off due to the travel with just 10.7 seconds left in a tie game.
Then Draymond Green hit a 3-pointer with 39.6 seconds left in overtime to give the Dubs a 119-115 lead, which would be all the Warriors would need.
For the Warriors, Green and Curry became the first teammates to ever triple-double in the same NBA playoff game. Green finished with 18 points, 14 rebounds, 11 assists, three steals, two blocks and the dagger 3-pointer, while Curry had 37 points, 13 rebounds, 11 assists, a steal and three 3-pointers on 11-of-25 shooting. That was also Curry’s fourth straight 35-point game, while all four of Dray’s triple-doubles this season have come on the road. And Curry’s hit a 3-pointer in a playoff-record 106 games. Curry also had a streak of 81 straight free throws made in the fourth quarter and overtime broken tonight, when he missed one with 9:25 left in the game.
With Andre Iguodala (calf), Kevin Durant (calf) and DeMarcus Cousins (quad) all out with injuries, the Warriors started Jordan Bell and Alfonzo McKinnie. Bell was quiet, but McKinnie had a huge rebound and putback to put the Warriors up 116-115 with 1:25 left in overtime, and finished with 12 points, two rebounds and a 3-pointer on 5-of-12 shooting. Klay Thompson came through with 17 points, six rebounds, two assists, two steals, a block and three 3-pointers, despite hitting just 7-of-21 shots, and Kevon Looney came off the bench to rack up 12 points, 14 rebounds, a steal and a block, also coming through with a huge offensive rebound and a putback with the game on the line in OT. We still don’t know when the Warriors will have any of their injured stars back, but the longer the Bucks-Raptors series lasts, the better the chances are that we will see some of them get back in action.
The Blazers were shockingly led by starter Meyers Leonard, who hit 12-of-16 shots and five 3-pointers for a career-high 30 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block. He had 25 points at halftime for the Blazers, who needed a perfect storm to beat the Warriors tonight. They pretty much got it, as Leonard was joined by Damian Lillard (28 points, 12 assists, 5 triples) and C.J. McCollum (26 points, 7 assists, 5 triples) with stellar lines, but it still wasn’t enough, despite all the Warriors injuries. The 11-of-14 shooting drought to start the fourth quarter killed their momentum and more erratic shooting in overtime ended up sealing their fate. The Blazers are going fishing, but they made a heck of a run in the playoffs, and a banged up Lillard (and company) managed to at least make the Warriors work up a sweat in this series. Zach Collins also came through with 10 points, two rebounds and a block in just 11 minutes off the bench, while the Blazers didn’t get much from starters Al-Farouq Aminu and Moe Harkless.
The Bucks lead the Raptors 2-1 and are at Toronto for Game 4 on Tuesday night, and you can bet the Warriors will be hoping for a Raptors win in order to provide some extra time for their injured stars to get healthy. And if you were hoping for a Giannis vs. the Warriors Finals, your dreams are still intact.
We’ll see you on Tuesday night!