Of any of the series’ in these NBA playoffs, this one seems to be the most affected by injury. It was injuries in the first round that got the Trail Blazers in this position, and it will be the injury to Steph Curry that gives them any life this round.
The fact of the matter is, even without Curry, the Warriors are the better team here. Shaun Livingston would be the most underrated player in basketball if so many people would not talk about how underrated he is. Filling in for Curry is impossible, but Livingston is long, can score and has ran the offense with all of these players.
What makes the Warriors the greatest team ever is that they run so many lineups, but the ball is on a string for every single one. Livingston, Leandro Barbosa, Ian Clark, even forwards like Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green have ran this offense and have succeeded in stretches.
The difference in this series is that instead of picking this thing to be a sweep, or the gentleman’s sweep without Curry the Blazers will steal a game here or there. Damian Lillard is a chore on defense, and has gone off the Warriors with a healthy Steph Curry this year. Lillard scored 51 and 40 in two games this season and took a game earlier this year against the Warriors. There is no doubt that he can come into this series inspired, and he can be the most influential player in this series. However, the Warriors have too many counters for Lillard to completely bury them.
The Warriors will still be running and gunning and the Blazers as a whole are in uncharted territory. The play of CJ McCollum, Al-Farouq Aminu, Mo Harkless and Mason Plumlee should be respected, but they are not getting enough off of the bench, and while they run a smaller lineup and can hang with the Warriors for a while their depth, experience, and overall talent should be able to win out. The Warriors should be able to move on.
Warriors in six