The Golden State Warriors have done it again.
The defending champions rallied for a third straight game to defeat the Portland Trail Blazers 119-117 in overtime in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals, and will advance to their fifth straight NBA Finals.
The Warriors came back from 17 down in Game 4 — the third consecutive game they’ve trailed by as many points and overcame such a deficit — to sweep the Blazers.
Stephen Curry and Draymond Green both finished with triple-doubles, the first teammates to ever do so in a playoff game. Curry finished with 37 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists while Green concluded the game with a stat line of 18 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists.
The Warriors are just the second franchise to advance to five consecutive NBA Finals and the first in 53 years to do so. The 2019 Finals will begin on May 30.
Here are five takeaways from Golden State’s Game 4 victory:
1. Yet another comeback
At this point, the Warriors could be down by 50, and you know with four minutes left in the fourth quarter they’re going to have it down to one possession with all the momentum. Just incredible. Once again, the Blazers led by as many as 17 in Game 4, and once again they couldn’t hold off the inevitable. This Warriors team has a lot of different identities: Shooting, defense, but its ability to erase just about any lead in the blink of an eye might be the single-most defining characteristic of this whole five-year run. They are just never out of a game, or a series for that matter. They fight like they’ve never won a thing.
2. You know my name: It’s Steph Curry
The Curry vs. Durant debate rages on as Curry has now led the Warriors to six straight playoff wins without Durant, scoring 30-plus in every one — 35-plus in all four Portland games. In Game 4, Curry posted a hefty triple-double with 37 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists. Curry played the entire second half and overtime for a total of 47 minutes.
This team is just a different animal when the ball is in Curry’s hands more often. You can argue about what that means as far as who’s better, Stephen Curry or Kevin Durant, but you can’t argue the effect he has with control over the offense. The Warriors are now 31-1 in their last 32 games when Curry plays and Durant doesn’t.
3. Draymond goes beast mode
What an unbelievable series Draymond Green had vs. Portland. Green had a triple-double as well in Game 4, marking the first time in NBA history that two teammates have each registered a triple-double in a playoff game. Green finished with 18 points, 14 rebounds, 11 assists, three steals and two blocks.
But Green’s impact is beyond the numbers, incredible as they are. Green’s defense speaks for itself, but equally devastating is the way he’s back to pushing the ball relentlessly. He does it off misses, off makes, he does it whenever he can, and the pressure it puts on defenses to then have to cross-match in transition is absolutely backbreaking.
4. The forgotten Meyers Leonard game
Terry Stotts inserted Leonard into the starting lineup in Game 3, and from that point forward he was terrific just about every minute he was on the floor. In Game 4, Leonard went nuts, scoring a career-high 30 points on 5-of-8 shooting from deep. But the Blazers lost. And they got swept. So it’ll be a footnote. But man, Leonard was terrific.
5. Not enough from Dame and CJ
Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum went for 28 and 26, respectively, in Game 4, but again they were clearly on the wrong end of the backcourt battle, and for the series as a whole they just weren’t good enough to get Portland over the hump, even though they were right there in three of the four games.
It’s not really a knock on these two. Clearly Lillard needed to be better and was too affected by the double teams and pressure defense he was seeing, but no guard tandem in the league has to work harder to create offense than Lillard and McCollum, and they just simply gave out against a better team with relentless defenders all over the court. Portland had an amazing season in large part because of these two guys, no question. But the Blazers are still in need of another big-time player if they’re going to compete for a championship.
Recap all Game 4 updates: