Warriors vs. Trail Blazers: What to Watch in Western Conference Finals - NBC Bay Area

Warriors vs. Trail Blazers: What to Watch in Western Conference Finals

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Dos and Don'ts of Good Sleep
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
    Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors drives on Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2017 NBA Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on April 19, 2017 in Oakland, California.

    With the Portland Trailblazers overcoming a big deficit to stun the Denver Nuggets Sunday night, a Western Conference Finals matchup is confirmed.

    The matchup will pair the champs against Oakland-native Damian Lillard, who will most certainly be ready to play his hometown Warriors in their last year in Oakland.

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

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

    Projected starting lineups

    Warriors

    F Andre Iguodala

    F Draymond Green

    C Andrew Bogut

    G Klay Thompson

    G Stephen Curry

    Blazers

    F Al-Farouq Aminu

    F Maurice Harkless

    C Enes Kanter

    G Damian Lillard

    G CJ McCollum

    Golden State will be without Kevin Durant for at least the first two games of the series with a calf injury. DeMarcus Cousins could also 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 Warriors out of the second round Friday evening.

    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 afternoon to reach the conference finals. Lillard has been particularly good against the Warriors this season, averaging 28.3 points and 6.5 assists in matchups.

    Edge: Warriors

    Bench

    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, the postseason has seen the resurgence of Rodney Hood, who is averaging 10 points on 50 percent from the field.

    Still, with the Warriors non-existant second unit, the Warriors could have their hands full.

    Edge: Trailblazers.

    Coaching

    Terry Stots has guided the Blazers to six straight playoff berths, including a third place Western Conference finish this season. Under Stotts' tutelage, Lillard and McCullum have developed into bonafide stars.

    However, 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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