The Portland Trail Blazers have a tough uphill battle in front of them taking on the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. The multitude of Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant is a lot to deal with. While many may view the Warriors as the favorite, Damian Lillard has a different view on things.
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Nothing is impossible but I believe it’s going to take an immaculate effort all-around from the Portland Trail Blazers to take down the Warriors. Obviously, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are going to have to play great to match the power of Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry. In the four matchups this season, Lillard averaged 23.3 points and McCollum averaged 22.3 points and that’s just not going to get it done. They went 0-4 against Golden State this season and if they want to come out victorious, more production from their stars is going to be necessary.
More importantly, the “others” of the Trail Blazers need to have an even better performance. Guys like Maurice Harkless, Allen Crabbe, and Evan Turner all play a huge part in their success. Also, the verdict on whether Jusif Nurkic will play is still up in the air. This one decision can shift the pendulum on this series because his presence means so much to the Trail Blazers. Since he joined the team, he made an immediate impact averaging 15.2 points and 10.4 rebounds in 29.2 minutes during his 20 games with the team. The Golden State Warriors struggle with opponents that have a big presence inside so if Jusif Nurkic is available to play, that’s a huge advantage that can swing in their favor.
When going up against a juggernaut such as the Golden State Warriors, everything matters. Every player must show up, each possession has to be valued and you can’t afford any defensive lapses. The Trail Blazers are in this situation and it’s a must that they keep these things in mind. If they value the basketball, communicate and contest on defense while also getting the most out of their players then I believe they’ll have a chance in this series.