The Golden State Warriors are back in the NBA Finals for the fifth successive season at the expense of the Portland Trail Blazers.
Golden State completed a 4-0 sweep of the Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals with a 119-117 overtime win in Game 4.
Here are three takeaways from two-time defending champions Golden State’s big win in Portland on Monday.
Leonard the X-factor nobody was ready for
Portland’s Meyers Leonard had a career night against the Warriors.
The seventh-year center poured in 25 first-half points, which is more than he has ever scored in a game in the NBA or college. He finished with a team-high 30 points, 12 rebounds and knocked down five three-pointers in the contest.
Leonard’s insertion into the starting line-up was essential to stretching Golden State’s defense out, but it was not enough to prolong the series.
Curry has continued to step it up
Stephen Curry is on a roll.
The Warriors star has scored at least 30 points in his last five playoff games, but he took things up a notch on Monday, recording a triple-double.
Curry finished with 37 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists in Golden State’s win, while team-mate Draymond Green tallied a triple-double of his own.
Two-time MVP Curry has been re-asserting his dominance as of late, which is a great sign for the Warriors – who have been playing without injured star Kevin Durant.
Curry did not sit for a single second after half-time on the road.
Golden State owned the boards
The Warriors took control of the rebounding battle, beating the Trail Blazers on the boards 56-38.
Golden State created plenty of second-chance opportunities, as they grabbed 15 offensive rebounds compared to Portland’s six.
The Warriors will now await the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals series between the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors. Milwaukee enter Tuesday’s Game 4 with a 2-1 series lead.