Golden State Warriors One Win Away From NBA Finals

When Kevin Durant was injured late in the Golden State Warriors’ series against the Houston Rockets there were many in the media that suggested it was the final nail in the coffin for the defending NBA Champions. They apparently ‘didn’t get the memo’. The Warriors went on to win the game after losing Durant and haven’t lost since going 4-0 SU/3-1 ATS. They were expected to receive a tough challenge from the Portland Trailblazers in the Western Conference Finals but that hasn’t materialized. Even without Durant, the Warriors are one game away from a sweep and a return to the NBA Finals where they will play the winner of the Milwaukee/Toronto series.

Portland returned home after losing the first two games at Oracle Arena and hopes were high that they could get back into the series. The Blazers’ home court at the Moda Center is one of the best in the NBA and they came out firing. Things looked good for Portland as they took a 66-53 lead into the halftime break. The bottom fell out in the second half–Golden State erased that 13 point deficit and never looked back as they cruised to a 110-99 victory. Golden State is downright scary when they ratchet up the defensive intensity and they definitely did that in the second half of Game 3 outscoring Portland 57-33. The third quarter was a disaster for the Blazers as they could manage only 13 points against the Warriors’ onslaught.

To make matters worse, superstar guard Damian Lillard revealed after the game that he had suffered a separated rib in the previous contest. He’s played reasonably well despite the injury averaging just over 20 points per game during the series with the Warriors but it is apparent that he’s in pain. That further diminishes any chance that Portland can become the first NBA team to come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a best of 7 series. Pro basketball teams down 0-3 are 0-135 in the series. As the futility of 0-3 teams in the NBA has become commonly known among players and fans the team in the drivers’ seat has gained a significant psychological advantage.

The Blazers took a good shot at the Warriors in Game Three only to feel the wrath of a menace in the second half. Now they not only need to overcome the defending NBA Champions and a 0-3 deficit but they have to do it with their best player at less than 100%. In this situation the team leading 3-0 completes the sweep 61.5% of the time. Note that is a SU victory percentage and doesn’t reflect the NBA pointspread. Portland does have a strong home court but that won’t be enough against the Warriors who are rounding into championship form even with Durant sidelined. The Blazers are definitely a team that could contend next season but ‘not today’.


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