The 2017 NBA Playoffs have officially begun for the defending Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors, and though it was close at various points for the Warriors during Sunday’s 121-109 win over the Portland Trailblazers, they proved they are still the team to beat in the West.
The difference-making quarter for the Warriors was their fourth, where the Warriors took an 88-88 tied score after three quarters and turned that into a 12-point win. The 33-21 scoring differential by the Warriors over the Trailblazers in the fourth showed that the Warriors can bend in the NBA Playoffs, but at least after one game, they didn’t break.
Mike Richman of Oregon Live wrote about how the Warriors managed to break away from the Trailblazers during the final quarter Sunday.
“Golden State used a 15-2 run over the first four minutes and 42 seconds of the fourth quarter to turn a tie game into a double-digit lead. Warriors forward and Draymond Green was all over the floor, stifling the Blazers at the rim…”
Though Steph Curry and Kevin Durant are the top two players of the Warriors, don’t sleep on Green either. The talented Green finished with a double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds and was one assist short of a triple-double with nine assists. Green was also 3-of-4 from the 3-point line for the Warriors and had five blocks and three steals in the first-round game of the NBA Playoffs for the Warriors.
As for Durant and Curry, they each scored 25-plus points with Durant leading the Warriors with 32 points and 10 rebounds in his first NBA Playoff game while a member of the Warriors franchise as he joined them as a free agent this past offseason.
Curry finished with 29 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Curry was 8-of-8 from the free-throw line and 3-of-8 from beyond the arc. There was also Klay Thompson with 15 points during the Warriors’ NBA Playoffs win over Portland.
With scoring like the Warriors had with their “Big Four” and for the score to be tied after three quarters, imagine what it will be like when, not if, the Warriors all get “hot” and on the same page during the NBA Playoffs. That could be tough for any other franchise that will eventually face them.
Looking back at this game, maybe the Warriors took the Trailblazers a little too lightly in their first game of the NBA Playoffs, but for the Warriors, like stated before, they are still the team to beat in the Western Conference until another team proves they can overtake them as champions of the West.
Even as the Warriors were tied after three quarters, what will most likely be tough for teams to stop them during the NBA Playoffs is the fact they are so talented with players like Green, Curry, Durant, and Thompson as any of the four can take over the game at any given point.
In Game 1, that was Green in the fourth quarter, and Connor Letourneau of SFGate praised Green’s importance to the Warriors following Sunday’s win:
“His all-around dominance in the fourth quarter helped the Warriors turn an 88-88 tie into a runaway victory.”
This type of play from Green and whoever is next for the Warriors is what makes them so scary for the rest of the Western Conference, and for that matter, the Eastern Conference as well. The Warriors showed on Sunday even though teams can get close, they are still the most dangerous team in the NBA Playoffs, and they will be a very tough team to knock off in any round.
Game 2 for the Warriors vs. Trailblazers will be on Wednesday, April 19 at 10:30 p.m. ET on TNT at the Oracle Arena, Oakland.
[Featured Image by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images]