West champs: Warriors punch 5th straight NBA Finals ticket
LOS ANGELES, USA – The Golden State Warriors just turned up ruthless yet again.
Down by as many as 17 points, the Warriors rallied to complete a sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers, 119-117, in overtime to advance to the NBA Finals for the fifth straight season.
The Warriors captured the Western Conference championship with Steph Curry and Draymond Green both unleashing triple-double performances to become the first teammates to pull off the feat in playoff history.
Curry erupted for 37 points – 21 coming from three-point range – grabbed 14 rebounds and dished out 11 assists to power the Warriors in Game 4 in Portland on Monday, May 20 (Tuesday, May 21, Philippine time).
Green also came through the clutch, knocking in a triple with 39.6 seconds left that gave the Warriors a 119-115 advantage. He finished with 18 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists.
“We’ve been here before, we’ve seen every game,” Curry said of the Warriors, who are vying for a third straight championship.
The only other team to reach 5 straight NBA Finals was the Boston Celtics, when they went to a record 10 in a row from 1957 to 1966.
The @warriors advance as @StephenCurry30 (37 PTS, 13 REB, 11 AST) and @Money23Green (18 PTS, 14 REB, 11 AST) become the first teammates in #NBAPlayoffs history to both record a triple-double in the same game! #DubNation pic.twitter.com/LO9QVGfktU
The Warriors ruled the conference despite playing the series minus Kevin Durant, the two-time NBA Finals MVP still nursing a right calf strain. The team had already been playing minus another injured All-Star in DeMarcus Cousins and then also took the floor minus key cog Andre Iguodala.
“We had 3 starters down but everybody stepped up,” said Curry.
The Trail Blazers had led 69-65 at halftime, and built the lead to 17 points, 95-78, in the 3rd quarter.
But Golden State scored the last 9 points of the 3rd period to close within 95-87 and knotting the score at 104-104 on Curry's layup with 4:34 left in regulation.
Both teams had a chance to win in regulation, but Curry traveled before draining a three-pointer that didn't count and Lillard was unable to get through in traffic as time expired with the score tied 111-111.
Portland star Lillard, playing with painful separated ribs, finished with 28 points while unheralded Meyers Leonard led the Trail Blazers with 30 points and 12 rebounds.
CJ McCollum added 26 for the Trail Blazers, but it wasn't enough for a team that had fended off elimination twice in their second-round series against the Denver Nuggets. – With a report from Agence France-Presse