The Golden State Warriors can eliminate the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 5 of their Western Conference semifinal series Wednesday night at Oracle Arena and move to the conference finals for the second straight year.
After shaking off some court rust, point guard Stephen Curry almost single-handedly crushed Portland’s chances of tying the series. Curry scored 40 points in Game 4’s 132-125 overtime victory, including 17 in the extra period.
Curry was celebrating his historic and unanimous selection as the NBA’s MVP — the second honor of his career — and working his way back from a sprained right MCL that kept him out of Golden State’s four previous contests and allowed Portland to take Game 3 of the series.
Given Curry’s return and Golden State’s performance in past elimination games, the Warriors are double-digit favorites in front of their home crowd. Over the last two seasons, the Warriors are 4-1 when given the opportunity to knock out an opponent, with the only loss coming to Houston in last year’s conference finals.
However, Portland, led by the stellar backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, has staved off elimination well the last two seasons. Last year, the Blazers fell 0-3 against Memphis and pulled one victory in Game 4 of that series before losing in the next one. In 2014, the same scenario played out against San Antonio.
Portland can also take solace (and even regain some confidence) by knowing it can hang with the defending champions and nearly held down Moda Center. Lillard racked up 36 points and 10 assists and had an opportunity to win the game in the closing seconds with a long-range attempt, while McCollum added 24 points. The Blazers unheralded frontcourt of Al-Farouq Amiu and Mason Plumlee combined for 28 of their squad’s 52 rebounds as well as 30 points.
Tipoff: 10:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: TNT
Live Stream: TNT Overtime
Betting Odds: Golden State -13 points
Over/Under: 217.5 points
Prediction: Golden State over Portland, 110-100