Warriors Sweep Blazers

Golden State is going back to the NBA Finals for the fifth straight year.

Jim Rome
May 21, 2019 - 10:49 am
Draymond Green and Klay Thompson

USA Today

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Golden State is going back to the NBA Finals for the fifth straight year. The first team in more than half a century to do that. It’s kind of easy to take that for granted, just writing the Warriors into the Finals in June every year.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not impressive. It sure as hell is. Jordan’s Bulls never did it. Neither did Bird’s Celtics or Magic’s Lakers, although Magic and the Lakers is a whole other story right now. And maybe even a better story than the Warriors, given how hilarious and embarrassing Erv and the once proud Lakers are now.

But the Golden State Warriors did it and they did it by sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers, closing it out with last night’s 119-117 in overtime. And that wasn’t supposed to happen. Not last night. Not with Golden State down another starter. And not with them down 17 points again.

When Andre Iguodala couldn’t go last night, this had Gentleman’s Sweep written all over it. Coast in Game 4, and then finish it off in Oakland for Game 5.

Especially when Meyers Leonard went off in the first half. My guy was a monster. He was doing everything.

Incredible passing? Check.

Alley-oop to Zach Collins? Check.

Ridiculous pull-up three on the secondary break for a heat check? Check.

There was a Meyers Leonard chant breaking out in Portland. And it was awesome.  Because the guy was unconscious. 25 points, including 5 for 6 from deep. At halftime. He went from not playing in five games in this playoff run to putting up 30 and 12 in a game where Portland had its backs against the wall.

Portland was smashing Golden State, again. We’ve read this script before. It’s the one where the team that’s up 3-0 is down a starter and down double digits on the road and they just decide to shut it down and rest up for Game 5. But Golden State didn’t do that.

They refused to give in when every other team in that situation would have. And really, the series called for it. Portland deserved a win and Damian Lillard deserved another game in Oakland.

But Golden State wouldn’t let them have it. In case you forgot, the Warriors aren’t just good, they are tough as hell. They just swept the Western Conference Finals without Kevin Durant.

They came back from down 17 in Game 2, 18 in Game 3, and 17 again last night. That’s not about Portland, that’s all about Golden State. That is mental and physical toughness of the highest order.

Steph Curry – 37 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists. He played one of the best series you’ll ever see and he did it with a jacked up digit.

And in a game that they didn’t have to have, Curry played the entire second half and overtime. That’s how badly they wanted that game and how badly they wanted to end that series last night. Again, I can’t stress this enough, most teams mail it in there. Golden State didn’t.

Not when Curry was playing the way he did and not with Draymond Green doing what he did: 18 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists. He was coming off maybe the best game of his career in Game 3, backed it up with another monster in Game 4. And he summed up the Warriors mentality afterwards: "We just really understand what we're capable of on both sides of the basketball. We're never out of the fight. That's just always our mindset."

And he had the biggest shot of the night in overtime.

These guys are absolute killers. They just swept a damn good Portland team. And did it without two starters for the entire series and a third from last night.

This team was supposed to be too tired, both physically and mentally. They were supposed to be vulnerable without Kevin Durant. Their chemistry was allegedly off.  Except they didn’t hear the hot takes or get the memo, because neither Steph nor Draymond have ever played better

Too tired? Too run down? Too banged up? Nah, just too damn good. And cold-blooded.

About the only thing that surprised them was when Curry was walking to the locker room and someone told him that he and Draymond were the first teammates to ever have triple doubles in the same playoff game.

Now they have 10 days off and they’ll get Durant back. And they’ve proven once again, they’re the team to beat, with or without Durant. And if Durant does bounce after the season, they’ll be just fine. Just like they were before he arrived there. Because Steph Curry has never played better. And neither has Draymond. And Curry is even more unselfish than anyone ever knew: and he was already the most unselfish superstar ever.