Tue May 21 11:06am ET
By ANNE M. PETERSON
AP Sports Writer
PORTLAND, OR - MAY 20: The Golden State Warriors are presented the Western Conference Finals Trophy after Game Four of the Western Conference Finals against the Portland Trail Blazers on May 20, 2019 at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Experience bred confidence for the Golden State Warriors, even when challenged by the upstart Portland Trail Blazers.
No matter how far they were down, they've been through too much to ever think they're out.
''We just really understand what we're capable of on both sides of the basketball,'' Draymond Green said. ''We're never out of the fight. That's just always our mindset.''
The Warriors swept their way to a fifth straight NBA Finals, getting triple-doubles from Stephen Curry and Green in a 119-117 overtime victory on Monday night.
The two-time defending champions overcame a double-digit deficit for the third straight game against the Blazers, back in the conference finals for the first time since 2000.
Green had 18 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists, and made a key 3-pointer in overtime. Curry added 37 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists. They became the first teammates to have triple-doubles in the same playoff game.
The Warriors will face the winner of the Eastern Conference finals between Toronto and Milwaukee. The Bucks lead that series 2-1 with Game 4 on Tuesday night in Canada.
The Warriors came back from 17 down after erasing an 18-point deficit in Game 3 and a 17-point hole in Game 2.
''We've been here before. We've seen everything, every experience you can imagine. So we relied on that,'' Curry said.
Playing without Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala and DeMarcus Cousins, the Warriors became the first team to reach five straight finals since the Boston Celtics went to 10 in a row from 1957-66.
Damian Lillard, playing with separated ribs, had 28 points and 12 assists for Portland. He missed a 3-point attempt as time ran out in the extra period. Meyers Leonard added a career-high 30 points along with 12 rebounds.
The Warriors were up 114-113 in the extra period after Green missed the first of a pair of free throws. CJ McCollum's jumper from out front briefly gave Portland the lead but Alfonzo McKinnie's basket put Golden State back ahead and Green made a 3-pointer to push it to 119-115 with 39 seconds left.
Lillard made a layup and Curry missed a jumper to give Portland back the ball. Facing stifling defense from both Green and Klay Thompson, Lillard couldn't get off a shot but the ball went out of bounds in the scramble. The Blazers got it back with 3.3 seconds left but Lillard's final shot didn't fall.
Blazers coach Terry Stotts was asked if he was expecting another buzzer-beating winner from Lillard, who had a memorable 3-pointer at the buzzer to clinch the first-round series against Oklahoma City.
''Yeah, I did. I thought it was going to - kind of meant to be,'' Stotts said. ''When he shot it, it had a good arc. I thought it had a chance.''
The Blazers stretched the lead to 17 points in the third quarter, but the Warriors went on a 12-0 run to close within 95-90 early in the final period.
Green's long baseline jumper gave the Warriors a 108-106 lead with 3:30 left. Lillard's 3-pointer put the Blazers back ahead and Leonard's dunk extended it to 111-108 with just under 2 minutes to go.
After Thompson's 3-pointer tied it up again both Curry and Lillard missed 3s. Curry made a 3 from the corner with 10.7 seconds left but he was called for traveling first and it didn't count.
Lillard's layup bounced around the rim and out and the game went to overtime.
Iguodala was out because of a sore left calf. The veteran swingman, who is averaging 10.1 points in the playoffs, was hurt in the second half of Saturday's Game 3 victory.
It was not known how long he'd be out, but the Warriors said an MRI Sunday was clear.
Golden State was already missing Durant because of a sore right calf. It's unknown when the two-time NBA Finals MVP will return. Also sitting is Cousins, who injured his left quadriceps in the opening round.
''We've had guys step up all along this entire time and we're going to look forward to those guys continuing to step up, no matter what happens with the injuries that we have,'' Green said. ''You know, we're trying to go win this thing. Never the goal is just to get there.''
Lillard separated his ribs in Game 2 but was playing through the pain. He averaged 33 points in the first-round playoff series against Oklahoma City but struggled against Golden State's defensive focus on him.
Playing with urgency in an elimination game, Portland pulled in front 30-28 in the opening quarter on CJ McCollum's layup and free throw, but Curry answered on the other end with a step-back 3-pointer.
Portland went ahead 59-50 after back-to-back 3-pointers from Leonard, who finished with five 3s in the first half.
Curry hit a 3-pointer with 2.6 seconds left in the half to close the Warriors within 69-65 at the break.
Portland pushed the lead to 83-72 on McCollum's 3-pointer. After he made another 3 to push the lead to 91-78, he gestured to the crowd to make noise. McCollum finished with 26 points.
Warriors: Curry has made a 3-pointer in a playoff-record 106 games. ... Quarterback Colin Kaepernick was among the fans at the game, sitting a few seats down from the Warriors bench. ... Per Elias Sports and the Warriors, Curry had a streak of 81 consecutive free throws made in the fourth quarter and overtime in the postseason - before he missed one with 9:25 left in the game against the Blazers.
Trail Blazers: Leonard, who didn't even play in five of Portland's postseason games, had a playoff-high 16 points in Game 3. After scoring 25 in the first half, fans at the Moda Center chanted his name.
FIVE AIN'T EASY
The Warriors are just the sixth professional team from North America to go to five straight championships, along with the Montreal Canadiens (NHL), Boston Celtics (NBA), Cleveland Browns (NFL), New York Yankees (MLB) and New York Islanders (NHL).
Former Oregon wide receiver Keanon Lowe got a standing ovation when he was introduced to the crowd at the Moda Center in the first quarter. Lowe, a coach at Portland's Parkrose High School, stopped a student who came to the school armed with a shotgun on Friday.
''I saw the look on his face, the look in his eyes, I looked at the gun, I realized it was a real gun and then my instincts just took over,'' Lowe, 27, said about wrestling the gun away from the teenager. Lowe spoke to reporters before the game.
The suspect, 19-year-old Angel Granados-Diaz, pleaded not guilty earlier Monday during a brief court hearing.
Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon (illness) went through his first practice on Wednesday since testing positive for COVID-19. He recovered from the virus a week ago and has reportedly looked good since then. His conditioning will be the biggest issue for Brogdon, but the team doesn't seem too concerned. Victor Oladipo is leaning toward playing during the restart, so that'll mean the team will be almost at full strength. Brogdon was playing extremely well before the shutdown. He should continue to have reliable DFS value during the restart.
Phoenix Suns forward Kelly Oubre Jr. (knee) recently mentioned that he needs to be mentally right to return for the upcoming NBA restart. "I'm more 90% mental, 10% physical," Oubre said. Oubre has been 100 percent cleared by the medical staff and head coach Monty Williams has seen encouraging signs during practice. The organization has not officially ruled out Oubre for the restart, so we'll see if he feels ready in time to play. It sounds like he's doing better, but is fantasy value will likely be limited. Williams mentioned earlier during the shutdown that he plans to somewhat limit his starters during the restart. Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, and Dario Saric would benefit if Oubre sits out. Bridges would be the best DFS option out of the bunch.
Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker (knee) sat out of practice for the second time this week. Theyve got him on a one-day off, one-day on plan, said head coach Brad Stevens. Walker experienced soreness in his left knee when he went through individual workouts. The team has already mentioned that they plan to limit Walker during the restart. They hope to get him get to full health by the start of the playoffs. It's unclear whether or not Walker will actually get 100 percent healthy in time for the postseason. His fantasy value will take a hit while he's banged up and limited.
Los Angeles Lakers guard Alex Caruso is expected to have a fairly significant role in the rotation during the upcoming NBA restart. He mentioned that he'll likely have increased ball-handling responsibilities with Rajon Rondo (thumb) sidelined. Caruso, Dion Waiters, and J.R. Smith are all expected to see more minutes without Rondo available. It sounds like Caruso is going to benefit the most, but he won't be a great DFS option. He's averaging 5.4 points over 17.8 minutes per game this season. He'll be a low-cost DFS option for smaller slates.
Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo (knee) recently announced that he was going to sit out of the upcoming restart, but it seems he has changed his mind. The star shooting guard is now leaning toward playing during the restart later this month. He had some strong practices and is fully participating in 5-of-5 scrimmages. It's not official that he is playing, so we'll have to wait and see. Aaron Holiday, Justin Holiday, and T.J. McConnell will all lose playing time and value if Oladipo returns.
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is reportedly expected to take over Avery Bradley's spot in the starting five. Bradley decided to opt out of the upcoming NBA restart. On Monday, Rajon Rondo (thumb) was injured and is expected to undergo surgery and miss at least a month of action. The team has Alex Caruso, J.R. Smith, and Dion Waiters as depth at the guard spot. The Lakers were 17-3 when Caldwell-Pope started over Bradley. Hopefully the success continues during the restart. Caldwell-Pope should have decent DFS value while in the starting five.
Indiana Pacers guard Edmond Sumner (knee) mentioned that he has been dealing with nagging injuries since his final season in college. However, he says that the time off during the shutdown has given him a chance to rest and recover. "This is probably the best Ive felt, especially [with my] knee, Sumner said. He has played well in a limited role with the team this season, but probably won't have a huge impact down the stretch. It appears Victor Oladipo is leaning towards playing during the restart, which will basically kill any fantasy value that Sumner would've gained. However, he is someone to monitor if case a guard or two goes down.
Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard says he's feeling good and ready to begin the NBA restart in Orlando. You know, was able to work out, get strong and prepare for this moment now that were in," says Leonard. He'll be an important part to the Clippers championship dreams, so he'll likely see a lighter workload until the playoffs start. The team may decide to rest him for a game or two as well. Paul George and Lou Williams are going to benefit the most when Leonard isn't available. However, it appears Leonard is healthy and ready to go after another title.
Brooklyn Nets forward Michael Beasley has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 and was sent home to self-quarantine. Beasley recently signed with the team to hopefully fill the void left by some of the players opting out. However, his chances of playing during the NBA restart are getting slim. Rodions Kurucs and Joe Harris could be looking at significant playing time. Both could be valuable DFS options if given heavy minutes in the rotation.
Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (knee) is reportedly looking good in each of his first two practices, according to head coach Mike D'Antoni. "He hasn't missed a rep. Looks good. Shooting the ball extremely well," says D'Antoni. Gordon has been bothered by knee issues throughout this season. Gordon mentioned recently that he feels like his knee issues are finally behind him. He could have some cheap DFS value alongside Russell Westbrook and James Harden.
Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic (leg) and forward Zach Collins (shoulder) have been looking good during recent practices, according to head coach Terry Stotts. Nurkic has not played this season after breaking his leg in March of 2019. However, he is not expected to be limited during the restart. Collins suffered a dislocated left shoulder in October and has been sidelined since then. He is expected to immediately slide into the starting power forward spot. Hassan Whiteside should lose some fantasy value and playing time with Nurkic and Collins returning. Both Nurkic and Collins should carry fairly decent DFS value, but Nurkic might only play around 20 minutes.
Memphis Grizzlies guard Justise Winslow has hit the ground running during the NBA restart, according to head coach Taylor Jenkins. Winslow is expected to play both guard and forward for Memphis. His versatility is really going to come out in our style of play, Jenkins said. There is a good chance that Winslow spends a majority of his time at small forward. He should get a bulk of the playing time over Kyle Anderson or Josh Jackson. He'll be an intriguing DFS option because he can do just about everything on a basketball court.
Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. It sounds like he is feeling fine, but will need to self-quarantine for 14 days. He'll need to posts two negative tests before being allowed to enter the bubble in Orlando. It appears Westbrook should have enough time to join the team and is not in danger of missing out on the NBA restart. His fantasy value should remain strong alongside James Harden.
Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker (knee) did not practice on Monday after experiencing soreness in his troublesome left knee. He had a little bit of discomfort after a couple of the individual workouts, said head coach Brad Stevens. The Celtics are going to be extremely cautious with Walker down the stretch. Stevens has already mentioned that Walker is going to be under a minutes restriction during the beginning of the restart. Walker is expected to be ready to go for next practice. Fantasy owners should know that his value is going to take a hit with less playing time. The team wants Walker as healthy as possible for the postseason.
Philadelphia 76ers guard Shake Milton has recently been scrimmaging as the starting point guard in practices. "I think he has a huge opportunity to help us accomplish what we believe we can. He's been doing an amazing job running the team," said Joel Embiid. Milton was averaging 17.9 points, 4.4 assists, 3.0 triples, 1.3 steals during the last eight games before the season was suspended. However, those numbers did come when Ben Simmons was unavailable due to injury. Simmons is spending more time at power forward now, so Milton should have fairly reliable fantasy value during the restart.
Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons has been operating as the power forward during recent practices. Head coach Brett Brown mentioned that Simmons is working exclusively at power forward now. He is seriously considering moving Shake Milton to the point guard spot during the restart. Simmons would spend more time off-the-ball with his new position, but Brown says Simmons is adjusting well. This position new could result in less assists for Simmons, but could be the best way to utilize Milton's talent.
Philadelphia 76ers center Al Horford might be coming off the bench with the second unit during the restart, according to head coach Brett Brown. Shake Milton has been running point guard, while Ben Simmons is operating next to Joel Embiid in the post during recent practices. Horford was playing off the bench during February, but was re-inserted into the starting five after Simmons got hurt. Horford's fantasy value has taken a regression when he comes off the bench. He won't be as valuable of a DFS option if that is the route the Sixers decide to go.
Philadelphia 76ers forward Glenn Robinson (back) was a full participant during Monday's practice, but received treatment afterwards. He was dealing with a sore upper back, but it's not uncommon for a player to experience soreness while working back into game shape. It doesn't sound like anything that is going to sideline Robinson at all. He's averaging 7.4 points through 18.9 minutes with the Sixers in 12 games this season. Those stats can be taken with a grain of salt because the team was banged up too. He'll probably see a reduced role in the playoffs, so there won't be much DFS value coming from Robinson.
Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac (knee) is going to be out at least two or three more weeks. The team needs a few more weeks to determine if Isaac is ready to return during the restart, according to head coach Steve Clifford. "In terms of will [Isaac] be ready, I dont think well know that for 2-to-3 weeks," said Clifford. Isaac believes he'll get back on the court this season, but players always seem optimistic about their injuries. He'll likely be limited if he does return during the playoffs. Terrence Ross and Aaron Gordon should benefit the most until Isaac is back on the court.
Los Angeles Lakers guard Rajon Rondo (thumb) was forced to leave Sunday's practice early after suffering an injury. He will undergo thumb surgery and could return at some point during the playoffs. Rondo is likely going to miss around six-to-eight weeks of action. Alex Caruso, Dion Waiters, and J.R. Smith will be asked to step up in the absence of Rondo. The Lakers are confident that Rondo will be able to contribute again this season. It'll be a significant blow to the Lakers if he's unable to play during the postseason. Caruso might end up benefiting the most, but it depends on what Frank Vogel does with his rotations.