In three games against Portland this season, Durant has averaged a team-high 29.3 points.
Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers have their hands full in the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs.
Portland finished the season at 41-41, while Golden State rolled to a 67-15 mark. That is good enough for the eighth seed in the Western Conference. Still, the Blazers training staff may want to be careful on Nurkic and he would likely be limited in his first game back. You try your best to keep your eye on guys and to keep them fresh, but honestly Steph was pretty fresh going into last season’s postseason. Yes, it’s the playoffs and anything can happen, but the Warriors are almost 15-point favorites for a reason. Also, shooting guard Jordan Crawford, who was signed to a two-year contract in March, is expected to be a solid contributor off the bench.
The Trail Blazers limited the Warriors to a combined 48 percent field goal percentage over the last two regular season meetings (Steph Curry missed the January 29 game). However, that has seen drastic improvements in the month of April. That means the opportunity to host the first two games against the Blazers and possibly Games 5 and 7 if they are necessary.
Golden State made quick work of the Blazers in the second round of last year’s playoffs as well, advancing to the Conference Finals in just five games.
After the game, Harkless posted a photo from a restaurant on Instagram with the caption: “I guess dinner’s on me tonight”. They will need to avoid that tonight.
Damian Lillard: The Oakland-born point guard will be thrilled to play against his hometown team in back-to-back years. The player to look out for on the Blazers might be Shabazz Napier. This is not the same Portland team the Warriors saw in person. However, in Harkless’ final three games, he didn’t take any attempts. New Orleans will have to find a way to stop him.
Now the offseason begins with the uncertain futures of General Manager Dell Demps and Gentry at the forefront, along with Jrue Holiday’s impending free agency and whether he will re-sign with the Pelicans.
The other matchup to look out for is Cheick Diallo versus Noah Vonleh.
This could very well end up being the launching point for his career and a place for him to make a name for himself.
Whatever happens this postseason, Curry and the rest of last year’s Warriors are simply hoping for a chance to exorcise some playoff demons this time around. He scored in double figures in 17 of the final 19 games. Mike D’Antoni’s Rockets can score points in a hurry and will be hard to contain by the Thunder, whose fate will mostly be determined by the brilliance of one man. For those Rip City fans keeping score at home, it’s a full season sweep by the Warriors, showing the team as a clear favorite in this first-round series. The next game after this one will not be until October.