The NBA Western Conference Finals have been all in favor of the Golden State Warriors so far, but the Portland Trail Blazers will have another chance to stay alive on Monday night with a win at home. Portland has not been able to get a win in the series yet, but they will look to avoid the sweep on Monday night, while the Warriors look to punch a ticket to the NBA Finals. This game is expected to start at around 9:00 PM Eastern time on ESPN.
Golden State finished the regular season with a record of 57-25, which put them in first place of the Western Conference. The Warriors have proven why they were the top team by knocking out the Los Angeles Clippers and the Houston Rockets each in six games. Golden State will look to knock out Portland on Monday night with another road playoff win.
The Trail Blazers finished the regular season in third place of the Western Conference with a record of 53-29. Portland went on an impressive playoff run throughout the first two rounds, knocking the Oklahoma City Thunder off in five games and the Denver Nuggets out in seven games. The Trail Blazers are now facing elimination and will need to play one game at a time to try and get back into it.
These two teams met up four times throughout the regular season. Each team was able to win two of the four regular season matchups. The Trail Blazers have held solid leads in the last two games of this series, but have not been able to come out on top. Portland will look to avoid that narrative again on Monday night by holding off the Warriors push for at least one more night.
Game 1 of this playoff series was in Golden State on May 14. Damian Lillard had a nice performance for the Trail Blazers as he dropped 19 points. C.J. McCollum, Rodney Hood and Maurice Harkless all had 17 points, but it was not enough. Stephen Curry dropped 36 points, while Klay Thompson added another 26 points. Draymond Green had 12 points and 10 rebounds as the Warriors finished with a 116-94 win.
The Warriors also hosted Game 2 of this series on May 16. Damian Lillard put up 23 points and 10 assists, while C.J. McCollum put up 22 points. Portland held a 15 point lead at halftime, but they could not slow down Golden State at the end. Steph Curry finished with 37 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists. Klay Thompson had 24 points, while Draymond Green dropped 16 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists. The Warriors were able to finish with a 114-111 win to take a 2-0 series lead.
Game 3 of this playoff series shifted to Portland on May 18. C.J. McCollum put up 23 points and Damian Lillard dropped 19. Meyers Leonard had a surprising 16 points, but it was still not enough. Steph Curry could not be stopped as he scored 36 points on the night. Draymond Green helped lead the Warriors with 20 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists. Golden State erased an 18 point deficit to pull off a 110-99 win on the road.
The Warriors constant pressure has forced the Trail Blazers to play more defensively in the last two games and it has allowed Golden State to erase these double digit leads. Portland needs to stay in attack mode with the lead in their hands if they want to keep this series alive. I expect the Trail Blazers to go back to the drawing board before Game 4 to try and figure this out.
Free Throw Shooting
Golden State was one of the best free throw shooting teams in the NBA in the regular season. The Warriors were able to knock down around 80.1 percent of their shots from the line. Golden State did not get to the line much, shooting the third least number of free throws per game. The Warriors are making 82 percent of their free throws in the playoffs, while shooting around 24.5 free throws per game.
The Trail Blazers were the second best free throw shooting team in the NBA during the regular season. Portland was able to drain 81.4 percent of their shots from the charity stripe. In the playoffs though, the Trail Blazers have not found that same success. Portland is only making around 76.7 percent of their free throws, while shooting around 25.8 per game.
The Warriors do not get to the free throw line quite as much as the Trail Blazers, but they make sure that their shots count. Portland had a lot of success at the charity stripe in the regular season, but they have not done that in the postseason. The Trail Blazers will need to find a way to repeat that success against Golden State if they want to stay alive.
Stephen Curry has picked up the slack since Kevin Durant went down with injury. Curry is averaging around 26.5 points per game in the postseason, but has dropped 30 plus points in all games in this series. Klay Thompson is averaging 19 points per game, while Draymond Green has averaged 13.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 8 assists per game.
Damian Lillard has put up an average of 27 points per game throughout the playoff run for Portland. C.J. McCollum is averaging 24.5 points per game from the Shooting Guard spot. Enes Kanter has averaged around 11.5 points and 10 rebounds per game, while Rodney Hood is averaging about 10 points per game off the bench.
Golden State has been able to take Damian Lillard out of his comfort zone throughout this series and it as shown. Lillard is also playing with injury, which doesn’t help, but the Trail Blazers need him to put up a strong performance in Game 4. Draymond Green and Klay Thompson have stepped up big time on defense and Portland needs to find a way to get past them.
The Trail Blazers have made it this far being resilient in the playoffs. Portland will need to do it again on Monday night if they want to avoid elimination. I believe that with this game being so big, McCollum and Lillard will step up in front of their home fans. If they can put up big nights, I believe that the Trail Blazers will be able to pull off the win.
BetOnline has the Warriors listed as -3 ½ against the spread. I like Portland in this game and as underdogs, it gives them a lot of value. On top of that, the Trail Blazers also have the better payout at -105. Golden State has erased two huge deficits and I think that Portland will learn from that and play differently with the lead in this game.