The Golden State Warriors had all five starters score in double figures as they ripped “Rip City” by 25 points in their 128 to 123 game four victory. The Warriors win sends the Trailblazers home for good this season and Steph Curry and crew only needed four games in which to end Portlands’ season.
I mention Steph Curry because he led the Monday night beating with 37 points and throughout the first round playoff series against Portland he averaged 29 points per game. Monday night he got help from Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Zaza Pachulia and Kevin Durant all scoring in double figures.Not to mention it was Kevin Durant’s first game back since missing the previous two games with a strained calf muscle. Despite only playing 21 minutes “KD” managed 10 points and did not seem to have any problems fitting back into the flow of the Warriors game plan. Meanwhile Green was big on the offensive end of the court with 21 points and Thompson added 18 while Pachulia added 18.
To me, the intriguing thing about the Warriors sweep of Portland is that Golden State has dealt with many injuries during the series and this is only the first round. I know that no team is 100% healthy this time of year after playing 82 regular season games, but Golden State has had more than their share of problems. For Instance, Kevin Durant returned from a knee injury just in time for game one and then injured his calf muscle. Shaun Livingston (always good support coming off the bench ) sprained his right index finger and also has not played since game one. Not to mention the fiery Matt Barnes who has not played at all this series due to an ankle or foot injury. Add the fact that head coach Steve Kerr has missed the last two games due to back problems and you have plenty of roadblocks that could have hurt a lesser team.
I must say I am impressed with the confidence the warriors have shown while assistant Mike Brown guides the team into battle with Kerr on the mend. It will be interesting to see if the head coach returns in time for round two when the Warriors take on either the L.A. Clippers or the Utah Jazz (Series is tied at two games a piece). I guess if Kerr isn’t back in time for the second round, Brown the one-time head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers would have no problem. Besides, the Warriors have enough experience as a unit to be on auto pilot.
In the other games on Monday night Norm Powell put up his post-season career 25 points to Ignite the Toronto Raptors as they clawed the Milwaukee Bucks by 25 points in their 118-93 win. I guess coach Duane Casey looking for a Spark Plug for the third-seeded team in the Eastern Conference has found one in Powell. The 6’4″ guard who played his college ball at UCLA was active on the boards with 4 rebounds and also dished 4 assists.Keep your eye on Powell who also displayed confidence to play with the big boys Monday night as he drove baseline around 6’11” Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and dunked over 7’1″ Bucks center Thon Maker. So I think with Toronto Point Guard Kyle Lowry still dealing with back issues, The Raptors Powell will continue to become an X-factor in this series for the Raptors. Game Six is back in Milwaukee on Thursday.
Moving on to a series that has kind of surprised me the Atlanta Hawks appear to be in full flight against the Washington Wizards. Paul Milsap knocked down 19 points to lead Atlanta to their 111-101 latest win and even up that series at two games apiece. I thought that John wall and Bradley Beal would wrap up this series in at least five games, but that is not going to happen. Washington won games one and two and at that time I thought it was a lock for the team from D.C. But then the series moved to “ATL” and the Hawks enjoyed some home cooking to win two in a row. Now with game five being played in Washington on Wednesday, I could see the Wizards grabbing a win. But then it is back to Atlanta on Friday and Common sense is telling me this series is going seven games and obviously home court is the key. That means the Wizards should outlast the Hawks in the final game of the series in the nation’s capitol.
(All of my sources come from NBA.com)
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Trevin A Jones