Experience bred confidence for the Golden State Warriors, even when challenged by the upstart Portland Trail Blazers. No matter how far they were down, they have been through too much to ever think they are out.
“We just really understand what we’re capable of on both sides of the basketball,” Draymond Green said. “We’re never out of the fight. That’s just always our mindset.”
The Warriors on Monday swept their way to a fifth straight NBA Finals, getting triple-doubles from Stephen Curry and Green in a 119-117 overtime victory.
The two-time defending champions overcame a double-digit deficit for the third straight game against the Blazers, back in the conference finals for the first time since 2000.
Green had 18 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists, and made a key three-pointer in overtime. Curry added 37 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists.
They became the first teammates to have triple-doubles in the same playoff game.
The Warriors face the winners of the Eastern Conference Final between Toronto and Milwaukee. The Bucks lead that series 2-1 with Game 4 in Canada yesterday.
The Warriors came back from 17 down after erasing an 18-point deficit in Game 3 and a 17-point hole in Game 2.
“We’ve been here before. We’ve seen everything, every experience you can imagine. So we relied on that,” Curry said.
Playing without Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala and DeMarcus Cousins, the Warriors became the first team to reach five straight NBA Finals since the Boston Celtics went to 10 in a row from 1957 to 1966.
Damian Lillard, playing with separated ribs, had 28 points and 12 assists for Portland. He missed a three-point attempt as time ran out in the extra period. Meyers Leonard added a career-high 30 points along with 12 rebounds.
The Warriors were up 114-113 in the extra period after Green missed the first of a pair of free throws. C.J. McCollum’s jumper from out front briefly gave Portland the lead, but Alfonzo McKinnie’s basket put Golden State back ahead and Green made a three-pointer to push it to 199-115 with 39 seconds left.
Lillard made a layup and Curry missed a jumper to give Portland the ball back. Facing stifling defense from both Green and Klay Thompson, Lillard could not get off a shot, but the ball went out of bounds in the scramble. The Blazers got it back with 3.3 seconds left, but Lillard’s final shot did not fall.
Blazers coach Terry Stotts was asked whether he was expecting another buzzer-beating winner from Lillard, who had a memorable three-pointer at the buzzer to clinch the first-round series against Oklahoma City.
“Yeah, I did. I thought it was going to — kind of meant to be,” Stotts said.
“When he shot it, it had a good arc. I thought it had a chance,” he said.
“We’ve had guys step up all along this entire time and we’re going to look forward to those guys continuing to step up, no matter what happens with the injuries that we have,” Green said. “You know, we’re trying to go win this thing. Never the goal is just to get there.”
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