Very few people had the Portland Trail Blazers who reached the conference final, but here they are and they will get their chance at the Champions. Portland and Golden State are sharing their season series 2-2, and this will of course be a showdown between the two best areas of the league. But this Blazers team has a lot more depth and this series a lot more depth, especially if Kevin Durant fails until the fourth or fifth game.
Here are five things to watch out for in the Western Conference final.
. 1 Kevin Durant's Absence
This is obviously the biggest action in this series right now. The warriors have survived the missiles and have clearly shown that they may still be the best team in basketball without him, but they are clearly not as good as him. Not at the moment. So the question is, how long will Durant not be there?
and the plan to re-evaluate him on Thursday, the day of Game 2, also challenges Game 2.
Dr. Alan Beyer, orthopedic surgeon and senior medical director at the Hoag Orthopedic Institute in Newport Beach, California, told CBS Sports last week that Durant's calf burden is likely to eliminate him for at least two weeks. That's between Game 4 and Game 5 of this series. Even if Durant pushes it and gets it back until the series switches to Game 3 in Portland, the Blazers have a real chance to get one of the first two in Oakland and steal the home advantage.
. 2 Rear Room Battle
That's as good as it gets on the back room. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson vs. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. What will be interesting is how they defend each other. Lillard got the curry treatment against Denver, doubling and getting trapped at 30 feet and beyond, but the warriors are not likely to overstrain their defense to stop a player. They'll change and let the boys even guard James Harden one to one. Thompson will see his time share with both Lillard and McCollum, and he's not a guy who tends to ask for help or needs a lot. Lillard and McCollum are drooling for one-to-one coverage. That will be interesting.
On the other hand, Durant's absence gives the blazers the opportunity to do what Houston did in Game 6, curry doubling and flashing without being so scared of being burned on the back. Portland is usually a relatively conservative defensive team, where the priority is not to do without simple buckets, and its rim protection is not nearly equal without Jusuf Nurkic, so the Warriors in curry traps can be problematic with 4 against 3 to play downhill. This will be a game of chess that probably depends on how well Curry shoots the ball and how much he kills the blazers on counters.
After all, these two backyards tend to trigger fireworks when facing each other. Neither is really built to prevent the other from having a lot of length around, especially without Durant on the side of the warriors. All four of these guys can and will probably make the shots they want each other. What a scoring showdown.
. 3 Warriors from their depths?
The Blazers have a lot of people getting ready for them, and if you chose me, I'd say they definitely have the better bank, especially when Durant out and Andre Iguodala are in the Start position pushed. Give Warriors & # 39; Bank the honor to be even more successful in this sixth game against Houston, but a game of adrenaline, where everyone without Durant has to prove the opposite, may be different from half a series. Do you really trust that Quinn Cook, Alfonzo McKinnie, Shaun Livingston and Jonas Jerebko will go out and offer you a great production in the final of the conference?
On the other hand, the blazers have a lot of people that you can absolutely trust now from their bank. Good news on this front: Rodney Hood, who had his knee crossed when defeating Denver, does not look like a long break, if any: