NBA Predictions: Spread too big for the Warriors vs

59 points? Damian Lillard thinks he can top it.

Golden State, meanwhile, has its own memories: being the first team to ever lose The Finals after leading 3-1. His arrival sparked the lackluster Trail Blazers and he quickly became a fan favorite in Portland. If you recall, we were without Stephen Curry for the first three games of last year's second round series before he came back and set the National Basketball Association overtime scoring record with 17 points.

There had been speculation Nurkic could return for the playoffs.

A report by relayed the information that Jusuf Nurkic had suffered a displaced fracture in his right fibula.

Nurkic has steadied the ship and created some dynamism on offense as well.

Saturday, April 22: Golden State at Portland, 7:30 p.m.

The 67-win Warriors dispatched the Trail Blazers four straight times during the regular season, winning twice by 23 or more points and once at Portland without Stephen Curry. The Warriors started the knocking down three-pointers at a high clip and that has been one of their keys to success in this entire three-year run.

As good as the Warriors have been, this isn't an opponent they can just show up to the arena and beat. Meanwhile, Lillard and McCollum have both been dogged by criticism of their defense.

What makes the Warriors different: Thompson, Iguodala, Durant, Shaun Livingston and Draymond Green are good enough to cover for their teammate's relative weakness on that end of the floor.

All but eight of the Blazers' first-half points Sunday were secured by Damian Lillard or CJ McCollum. They, also, allowed the 25th most points per game in the league.

If Golden State is to reach a third consecutive NBA Finals it first must take care of what's in front of them. Almost 400 of Lillard's 579 three-point tries came from 25-29 feet during the regular season, and he made them at a * a href="!?Season=2016-17&SeasonType=Regular%20Season&PerMode=Totals&sort=25-29%20ft.%20FG%20PCT&dir=1&CF=25-29%20ft.%20FGA*GE*250" *38.3 percent clip - an elite-level mark that still lags far behind Curry's. Golden State are dominant, to the point that some bookmakers have always been taking only two bets for the overall 2017 NBA Champion; the Golden State Warriors and "the field".

The Warriors averaged 125 points per game in their four games against Portland.

In early February, it seemed like the team would be on the outside looking in. It's a tough blow for the Blazers' chances at taking down the top-seeded Warriors, but without Nurkic, Noah Vonleh and Meyers Leonard should be in line for increased workloads in Game 1.

'NBA Sundays presented by NBA 2K17' on BT Sport - a live NBA game every Sunday at 8.30pm. Check out the full tv schedule below for the Blazers vs Warriors series.



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