Led by the first unanimous MVP in NBA history, the Golden State Warriors are on the verge of closing out their second-round playoff series. Two days after Stephen Curry returned from a sprained MCL, the defending champs look to punch their ticket to the Western Conference finals when they host the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 5 on Wednesday.
Portland was ready to even up the series, blowing out Golden State in Game 3 with Curry still unable to start in Game 4. But Curry showed why he was awarded every first place vote in the MVP race, scoring 40 points — including 17 in overtime — to give the Warriors a Game 4 win and a 3-1 series lead.
The Blazers gave the Warriors their best shot, but their chances of pulling off an upset in Game 5 and extending the series are slim. Golden State went 39-2 at home in the regular season, including a 16-point win over Portland. The Warriors are unbeaten at Oracle Arena in the playoffs, winning both Game 1 and Game 2 against the visiting Trail Blazers by double-digits without the injured Curry.
"Do I think they're done? Of course I think they're done," Warriors forward Draymond Green said after Game 4.
"If I don't think they're done, I don't know who else is going to think it," continued Green, who finished seventh in MVP voting and received two second-place votes. "We're going home with a 3-1 lead. It's up to us to close it out, and I trust my teammates. I trust our team to come out ready to go and close this series out. Of course I think they're done. It's time for us to close the series. We did what we needed to do: we came on the road and got one win. We took care of home court. Now it's time for us to do it again."
Golden State is a 12.5-point favorite, via VegasInsider.com, and the over/under is 216.5 points. The Warriors have scored at least 108 points in each game this series.
The Blazers have played the Warriors as well as they could have hoped. After getting blown out in the series opener, Portland led Golden State for the majority of Game 2, and the Warriors needed overtime in Game 4 to avoid losing a second straight game for the first time all season.
Point guard Damian Lillard finished eighth in the MVP voting, and he’s averaging 32.8 points and 7.8 assists per game this series. C.J. McCollum has added 20 points per game, and Al-Farouq Aminu has provided a big lift with 17.5 points per contest on 54.3 percent shooting.
But Golden State has been on a level of their own since the start of the season, and Curry’s record-setting return on Monday was likely the final nail in Portland’s coffin. The Warriors are expected to honor Curry’s MVP season prior to the start of Game 5, just before they reach another milestone on their way to a second consecutive title.
Start Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: TNT
Online Stream: Watch TNT
Prediction: Golden State over Portland, 115-98