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WCF: Trail Blazers vs. Warriors Game 4 Preview

Portland looks to keep its season alive.

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NBA: Playoffs-Golden State Warriors at Portland Trail Blazers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Golden State Warriors (Series: 3-0, Golden State)

May 20, 2019 - 6:00 p.m. PT
Blazers injuries: Jusuf Nurkic (out), Damian Lillard (he’ll play, but ouch)
Warriors injuries: Andre Iguodala (questionable), Kevin Durant (out), DeMarcus Cousins (out)
How to watch on TV: ESPN
How to stream: YouTube Live TV, Playstation Vue, Hulu Live TV, FuboTV
Radio: 620 AM
SBN Affiliate: Golden State of Mind

For the second time this postseason the Blazers are staring the end of their season in the face. The last time they faced an elimination game, Portland came through with a massive 100-96 victory over the Denver Nuggets. This time the task is more difficult. Somehow the Blazers need to win four in a row against the defending champions to make the NBA Finals. The pundits have left the Blazers for dead, so no time like now to take one from the Warriors.

The Golden State Warriors once again were able to come back from a huge deficit in Game 3, winning 110-99 after being down 18. The Warriors are loose, confident and playing excellent basketball on both sides of the court. Well, playing excellent basketball in the second half at least. The last thing the Warriors want to do is play another game. It’s up to the Blazers to force the issue.

Adjustments for Game 4

  • Avoid the disastrous quarter. In all three games this series the Warriors have had a dominating quarter where they scored at least 15 points more than the Blazers. Most games between two quality opponents have some ebbs and flows, but a 15 point differential in a single quarter is just too much against the defending World Champions. The Blazers desperately need to play four solid quarters to give themselves a chance.
  • Fast break points. The Warriors are averaging 10 more fast break points per game than the Blazers. Based on the eye test, it seems surprising that the difference isn’t higher. One of the reasons that Golden State has been able to break is due to another problem, namely points in the paint. The Blazers are averaging 33.3 points in the paint against the Warriors, 16 points fewer than they averaged during the regular season. The pick and roll isn’t working well right now; Damian Lillard is having problems finishing at the rim and other players aren’t picking up the scoring slack inside. The results are broken plays, missed shots and players finding themselves in unfamiliar places on the court when Golden State recovers the ball. By the time Portland players figure out where they are supposed to be the ball is often already in the net on the other side of the court. Portland needs to do a better job preventing the break, especially in those moments when the Warriors seem to be gaining momentum. This might mean sacrificing offensive rebounding in the name of getting back on defense and preventing run outs.
  • Do the fundamentals well. Each game of the series has had the Blazers being uncharacteristically bad in at least one important area. In Game 1 it was 21 turnovers and poor shooting. In Game 2 the Blazers were out-rebounded on both ends of the court. In Game 3 it was terrible shooting from the free throw line. These aren’t regular season game against a lottery team. The Blazers need to have a solid game across the board if they want to prolong the season.

What they’re saying

At least one of the Warriors can’t help but talk about the possibility of a sweep as reported by Mark Medina of the Mercury News.

The Warriors measure their worth by NBA championships, though. So when the Warriors play the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals on Monday, that outcome could largely dictate how ready they might feel for the NBA Finals. Regardless of when Warriors-Blazers and Bucks-Raptors finish their respective playoff series, the NBA Finals would start on May 30 in either Milwaukee or Toronto.

“It’s very motivating for to try to sweep this series and have this time off,” Draymond Green said. “We’re a little banged up. Nine days off would be great for us.”

Who has had the biggest assist of the Western Conference Finals? It might be Draymond Green Jr. according to Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Who should we credit for Draymond Green’s newfound maturity and self-control?

Apparently, 2-year old Draymond Jr.

“He plays on his little hoop and then he stomps around the house,” Green said. “I’m like, ‘I like the intensity, but slow down young fella.’

“I realize how impressionable the kids are and I just want to be a good example.”

Meanwhile, Janelle Moore at Golden State of Mind takes on the burning question raised by ESPN’s Jay Williams of whether Kevin Durant is bothered when the crowd in Oakland chants MVP when Stephen Curry is at the free throw line.

First of all, Warriors fans at Oracle chant MVP when Durant is at the free throw line too. They acknowledge what Durant has accomplished these past three years and they do, generally appreciate all he has done during this time.

Secondly, whether it bothers Williams or not, Curry is a two-time MVP and deserves those cheers as well. He can’t get mad at a fan base for cheering for another MVP who happens to also be more beloved?