The Conference Finals are fully underway now for the NBA. Four teams are left in the playoffs and will look to earn a berth in the NBA Finals. The Portland Trail Blazers and the Golden State Warriors will meet up in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals on Thursday night. This game is expected to start at around 9:00 PM Eastern time on ESPN.
The Trail Blazers finished in third place of the Western Conference Finals this season with a record of 53-29. Portland was able to knock off the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games in the first round. The Trail Blazers then went on to beat the Denver Nuggets in seven games in the second round. Portland will look to even up this series on Thursday night.
Golden State ended the regular season with a record of 57-25, which put them in the top spot in the Western Conference. The Warriors played the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round and won in six games. Golden State then went on to play the Houston Rockets in the second round and won in six games again. The Warriors will look to take the first two games of this series at home.
The Trail Blazers and the Warriors are the last two teams remaining in the Western Conference. Golden State is the favorite in this matchup, but they have been hit with some injuries this postseason. The Warriors will look to keep winning so that as they get healthy, they will be able to cruise to the NBA Finals again this season.
Portland and Golden State met up four times throughout the regular season. The Warriors won the first game at home but lost the second game of the season series at home. The third game of the season series shifted Portland, where the Trail Blazers lost. Portland was able to even up the regular season series with a win at home in the final game of the series.
Game 1 of this playoff series was in Golden State on May 14. Damian Lillard put up 19 points, while C.J. McCollum, Maurice Harkless, and Rodney Hood each dropped 17 points for the Trail Blazers. Stephen Curry put up 36 points, while Klay Thompson added another 26 points. The Warriors were able to outplay Portland as they pulled off an impressive 116-94 win at home.
The Trail Blazers kept up with Golden State throughout the first three quarters of Game 1 but were outscored 39-23 throughout the fourth quarter. Portland was able to pull off a win on the road in the regular season and will look to do so again to even up this series on Thursday night. The Trail Blazers will look for McCollum and Lillard to put up stronger performances to pull off the upset.
Points Per Game
The Trail Blazers were averaging the third most points per game throughout the regular season. Portland averaged around 114.7 points per game, which was sixth best in the NBA. The Trail Blazers allowed around 110.5 points per game in the regular season, which wasn’t great. Portland is averaging around 109.8 points per game in the playoffs.
Golden State averaged around 117.7 points per game in the regular season, which was second best in the NBA. The Warriors are averaging around 117.9 points per game in the postseason. Golden State allowed their opponents to score around 111.2 points per game throughout the regular season, which was around the middle of the league.
Both of these teams were really solid scoring teams throughout the regular season. The Trail Blazers have not quite carried that into the postseason, playing a more defensive game in the playoffs. Golden State has kept up their offensive strength in the playoffs though and Portland will need to score a good amount of points if they want to keep up in this series. I believe they will come out firing in Game 2 to try and keep up.
The guard duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum have been what has carried the Trail Blazers on this playoff run. Damian Lillard has averaged around 27.5 points and 6 assists per game at the Point Guard slot throughout the playoffs. C.J. McCollum is averaging about 25 points and 5.5 rebounds per game from the other Guard spot. Enes Kanter has stepped up for the injured Jusuf Nurkic, averaging around 12.5 points and 11 rebounds per game in the playoffs. Rodney Hood is averaging 10.5 points per game off the bench.
Stephen Curry has stepped up in the playoffs, especially as of late with Kevin Durant out for a little while. Curry has averaged around 25 points per game throughout this postseason run. Klay Thompson has also stepped up since Durant went down with an injury. Thompson is averaging around 19 points per game from the Shooting Guard spot. Draymond Green has had a solid postseason run, averaging 12.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 8 assists per game. Andre Iguodala is averaging 11 points per game to round out the lineup.
The Guards for each team will go head to head throughout this series in the matchup to watch. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum will look to keep up with the scoring of Curry and Thompson of the Warriors. Kanter will look to put up a strong performance with Golden State lacking a strong Center player. The Warriors depth has been stepping up in the last couple of games, but Hood will look to help propel the Trail Blazers depth to give them the edge in this matchup.
The Warriors will be without Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins for Game 2 of this matchup, but could get them back in Game 3 in Portland. Golden State will look for Steph Curry and Klay Thompson to put up another big performance to give them the win at home. Golden State has had the better offense in the playoffs, and they have some matchups that they will look to exploit to earn the win on Thursday night.
BetOnline has this game as the Warriors -7.5 against the spread. I believe that Portland could keep this close, but that is not the best bet in my opinion. BetOnline has the over/under for this matchup listed at 218. I believe that these two teams could combine for a high scoring matchup on Thursday night, which gives some value to the over for this game. I am taking the over for May 16’s Western Conference Final Matchup.