Golden State at Portland Trail Blazers
Monday 9 P.M. ET
Free NBA Pick: Over 220.5
Recommended Sportsbook: 5Dimes
Damian Lillard may be injured, but he and CJ McCollum have all the intentions on keeping their season alive. The Golden State Warriors will go for their second Western Conference finals sweep in the last three seasons Monday night when they visit the Portland Trail Blazers for Game 4 in the best-of-seven series. Having become the first squad in NBA history to rally from at least a 13-point deficit in consecutive playoff wins, the Warriors find themselves one victory away from a fifth consecutive trip to the NBA Finals.
It appears Golden State will take its first shot at the series-clinching win without Andre Iguodala, who experienced pain in his left Achilles during Saturday’s 110-99 win in Portland. The veteran got good news on an MRI exam performed Sunday, yet was still listed as no better than “questionable” for Game 4. Already without Kevin Durant (calf) and DeMarcus Cousins (quadriceps), the Warriors got big performances from their three remaining All-Stars and significant contributions from several others as they brushed aside an 18-point, second-quarter deficit and won 110-99 on Saturday night.
Like most Trail Blazers, Lillard has been most ineffective in third quarters in the series. He’s shot just 3-for-14 overall and 1-for-4 on 3-pointers in the three third periods, during which the Trail Blazers have been outscored 91-63. Lillard, an Oakland native who would like nothing better than to get one more homecoming before the Warriors move to San Francisco next season, has been outscored 109-61 by Curry in the series.
Portland went 2-0 in potential elimination games in their seven-game triumph over Denver in the Western semifinals. But the Trail Blazers have a taller task in the Western finals, facing a Warriors team that has won five in a row in these playoffs and has beaten them nine straight times in the postseason. The Warriors have gone 17-7 in potential close-out games in the Steve Kerr era, including 5-3 in Game 4 when up 3-0 in the series.
The Blazers will certainly look to get out scoring early and often, but expect the Warriors to keep up the pace as the two teams will more than likely exceed the over/under total. The biggest thing for Portland will be to keep up the scoring barrage in the third quarter when Golden State usually goes on their run to take a commanding lead against teams. The Blazers only scored 13 points in Game 3‘s third quarter and must do a much better job of maintaining their first half energy in the second half if they are to help reach the 220 point total.