Warriors vs. Trail Blazers: What to watch in Western Conference finals

Logan Murdock
NBC Sports BayArea

Warriors vs. Trail Blazers: What to watch in Western Conference finals originally appeared on nbcsportsbayarea.com

With the Portland Trail Blazers overcoming a big deficit to stun the Denver Nuggets on Sunday night, the Warriors' Western Conference finals matchup is confirmed. 

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The best-of-seven series will pair the defending NBA champs against Oakland native Damian Lillard, who most certainly will be ready to play his hometown Warriors in their last year in The Town.

Golden State will enter the series as the overwhelming favorite, but the team, as has been the case all year, is not immune to complacency.

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Here are the biggest things to watch heading into the series.

Projected starting lineups 

F Andre Iguodala
F Draymond Green
C Andrew Bogut
G Klay Thompson
G Stephen Curry

F Al-Farouq Aminu
F Maurice Harkless
C Enes Kanter
G Damian Lillard
G CJ McCollum

The Warriors will be without Kevin Durant for at least the first two games of the series with a calf injury. DeMarcus Cousins also could make his return from a torn quad in this series if he continues to progress in his rehab.

Still, the Warriors have the healthy Splash Brother duo of Curry and Thompson, who single-handily shot the team out of the second round Friday.

The Warriors will have their hands full with Portland's backcourt of Lillard and McCullum, who helped the Blazers overcome a 17-point deficit Sunday to reach the conference finals. Lillard has been particularly good against the Warriors this season, averaging 28.3 points and 6.5 assists in four matchups.

Edge: Warriors


Like the Warriors, the Blazers have struggled to get contributions from its second unit this season, finishing the regular season 21st in bench scoring.

However, this postseason has featured the resurgence of Rodney Hood, who is averaging 10 points on 50 percent shooting from the field.

Still, the Warriors' second unit mostly has been non-existent.

Edge: Trail Blazers

[RELATED: Full Warriors-Blazers WCF schedule]


Coach Terry Stotts has guided the Blazers to six consecutive playoff berths, including a third-place Western Conference finish this year in the regular season. Under Stotts' tutelage, Lillard and McCullum have developed into bona fide stars.

However, Warriors coach Steve Kerr has presided over the best six-year run in NBA history and is on pace to win his fourth championship in five years. 

Edge: Warriors

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