With the Trail Blazers' impressive come-from-behind road victory 100-96 against the Denver Nuggets on Sunday, the Golden State Warriors have their opponent for the Western Conference Finals — and we'll see a first-in-NBA-history face-off of brothers Steph and Seth Curry.
Portland had to overcome a 3-2 series deficit, winning Game 6 at home 119-108, on the heels of stellar offensive performances by star guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, as well as reserve Rodney Hood. The trio scored a combined 87 points (Lillard-32, McCollum-30, Hood-25). Each player also shot very efficiently, as well, with Lillard going 11-for-23, McCollum hitting 12 of 24, and Hood scoring on eight of his 12 attempts.
Game 7, in Denver, would be known as the "McCollum Show," as Blazers guard C.J. McCollum put his team on his back, offensively, pouring in a game-high 37 points on an incredible 17 of 29 shooting. He also added nine rebounds, for good measure. Damian Lillard, while not quite shooting it as the league is accustomed to seeing from him, still provided valuable contributions to the win, with: 13 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, and three steals, narrowly missing a triple-double. Center Enes Kanter chipped-in with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Western Conference Finals bound for the first time in 19 years!— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) May 12, 2019
And now the stage is set: Golden State vs. Portland. This will be a matchup of the no. 1 seed against the no. 3 seed in the West. The Warriors, of course, will have home-court advantage, which means that the crucial possible deciding-Game 7 would be played in front of raucous crowd at Oracle Arena in Oakland.
The Blazers struggled on the road in the regular season, going a mediocre 21-20 away from Portland. However, they did just take two games in Denver in the second round of the playoffs, including Sunday's Game 7. As for how these teams fared against each other in the regular season, they were split 2-2, each winning one at home and one on the opponent's floor.
A couple of interesting storylines to follow center around fellow-Blazer guards Lillard and Seth Curry (brother of Stephen Curry). Damian Lillard is a native of Oakland, born and raised. He attended Jason Kidd's former high school, St. Joseph Notre Dame High School in Alameda before transferring to Oakland High School his junior year. Seth Curry, of course, will get to take on his big brother, Steph, with a chance to advance to the NBA Finals on the line. It should make for an interesting series for the Curry family, as a whole.
For the Warriors, an update on Kevin Durant's calf injury will be eagerly-awaited, but coach Steve Kerr will see to it that the Dubs are ready to roll without their star, in the event he isn't cleared for the beginning of the series. If that is the case, the team proved they can win without the two-time reigning Finals MVP, with their impressive close-out victory, in Houston, last Friday night.
The Western Conference Finals are slated to begin on Tuesday at 6:00 PM PT in Oakland.