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Around the NBA's Western Conference Finals: Golden State Warriors Advance to Fifth-Straight Finals
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21 May 2019 01:23 PM EST

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Golden State Warrior Draymond Green celebrates winning Wester Conference Finals. (Image Source: Troy Wayrynen/USA TODAY Sports)

For the third-straight game, the Golden State Warriors faced a double-digit, second-half deficit and for the third-straight game, the Golden State Warriors came out on top. They overcame a 17-point deficit to win Game 4, 119-117 in Portland and sweep the Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals.

The comeback streak isn’t even their most impressive accomplishment.

Golden State is headed to the NBA Finals for the fifth-consecutive year, which hasn’t been done since the Boston Celtics advanced to the final round in 10-straight seasons from 1957-66.

"It's special," Warriors forward Draymond Green said to ESPN. "The first since Boston? Yeah, that's special. We've been through a lot. It just wasn't all peaches to get here. We've had our mountains to climb, but for this group to stick together and do the unthinkable, it's special. Nonetheless, our goal was never to make five straight Finals, it's to win. So, our work ain't done yet."

Star guard Stephen Curry continues to shine as he poured in 37 points to go along with 10 assists and 12 rebounds for a triple-double. Curry set a personal record with his fifth-straight 30-point postseason game and he’s just the sixth player to go for 30-plus in the first four games of a series.

Green also posted a triple-double, as the duo became the first teammates in the history of the NBA playoffs with a triple-double in the same game.

"I hope it doesn't go unnoticed or underrated," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of their accomplishment. "You know, five straight Finals hasn't been done since the '60s, since Bill Russell's Celtics. Hasn't been done for a reason: It's really, really difficult.

"I just can't say enough about the competitive desire about the group of players that we have here and the culture that they have built together. You know, playing together regardless of injury. Being without Kevin [Durant] these last five games has put us in a really tough spot, and our guys stepped up in a big way."

Game 1 of the NBA Finals is on May 30 which gives the Warriors nine days to rest and get healthy.

Is Durant Needed?

There’s been a lot of talk about how the Golden State core of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green must be relishing winning without Kevin Durant. The star forward was injured in Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Houston Rockets and the Warriors haven’t lost since.

But don’t tell them that.

"There's been so much talk about how, 'Oh, they're the Warriors. Before Kevin got there, they were great.' Bulls---," Green told ESPN. "We was damn good. I think we were a very good team who was tough to beat. I think when Kevin came here, he made us unbeatable. When DeMarcus [Cousins] came here, it made people scratch their head even more. And so, we need those guys. The next series is going to be tough, and I hope and pray that we can get him back."

Thompson also spoke about the need to have KD back for the Finals and head coach Steve Kerr remains hopeful that the two-time NBA Finals MVP can return.

Blazers Couldn’t Close

After being swept, Portland coach Terry Stotts called the series “competitive” and while the Trail Blazers failed to win a single game it’s not an outlandish comment.

"We were very competitive in this series, even though it was a sweep," coach Stotts said.

Almost shockingly, the Blazers actually led in the series for more minutes than the Warriors did, 101-83.

How did that happen?

By blowing leads of 17, 18, and 17 in Games 2, 3, and 4, that’s how. According to ESPN, Portland is only team over the past 20 years to lose three games in which they led by at least 15 points in the same series.

"It's the furthest that we have played into the postseason, and that's a little deeper water than what we've seen," said Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard. "It's a little bit more physically and mentally trying. The level of play is higher. There's more on the line. Teams take their scouting reports and detail it to the next level. I think it was a great experience for us. ...

"I think we showed that we're capable of being here and competing at this level. But it's definitely different."

Both Lillard and Stotts called Portland’s season “special.”

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards.

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