Stephen Curry received his MVP trophy and then led the Warriors to their 125-121 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 5 of the West Semifinals. Golden State became the first team out of the West to advance past the second round, and will await the winner of the Thunder/Spurs series; OKC currently leads that 3-2.
If you can remember the start Curry had in his last game, it was more of that on Wednesday night. He started off just 2/6, 1/4 from three, and had five of the Warriors 27 points. Leandro Barbosa came off the bench to lead the team with six points, and Draymond Green, Andrew Bogut, and Klay Thompson all had four as Golden State trailed after one. Damian Lillard felt the pressure of the elimination game and game out firing. On 3/7 shooting, Lillard netted 12 points to power Portland to a 30-point quarter. Maurice Harkless was just as vital in the period and had eight points and connected on two threes.
After staying quiet in the first, Thompson finally woke up. His hot shooting was great for the Warriors, who didn’t see too much production outside of him in the quarter. He took six shots and hit five of them while finishing the period with 13. Shaun Livingston put in six points off the bench, and Curry and Green did a superb job facilitating, and each recorded three assists. Again, Portland won the scoring battle 33-31 behind nine points from Lillard and eight from Al-Farouq Aminu. The Blazers made up for the sub-par shooting from the field by going to the line 13 times and connecting on 12. Entering the half, Portland had a 63-58 lead.
The intermission wouldn’t stop Thompson, and he came out even hotter than the second quarter. He exploded for 16 points, finishing just one shy of his first half total, on 6/9 shooting. Curry had a decent shooting exhibition as well, but his eight were overshadowed by his fellow Splash Brother. The Warriors went for 33, giving them their first lead since the first quarter. Portland, however, wouldn’t go away quietly and were spurred on by Allen Crabbe‘s eight points; Lillard couldn’t get hot from the field and shot just 1/5 in the third. Golden State’s lead was 93-91 going into the fourth.
After having almost half his team’s points in the previous period, Thompson didn’t even attempt a shot in the fourth. But what a luxury it is to have the MVP as the second option, right? After being dormant — by his standards — through the first three, Steph erupted for 14 points on 4/6 shooting, including a step-back dagger with 25 seconds left. The rest of the team added 18 to seal the deal. C.J. McCollum single-handedly kept the Blazers in the fourth quarter and contributed 16 of their 30 points on 6/10 from the field. Lillard, one of the NBA’s most lethal fourth quarter players, couldn’t find any rhythm and hit just one of his seven shots.
Klay Thompson was the game’s high scorer with 33 on 13/17 shooting. Curry finished with 29 points and 11 assists, and Green, very quietly, had 13 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists. Despite his shooting woes, Lillard had 28 to be the Blazers’ best scorer; C.J. McCollum had 27 thanks to his fourth quarter outburst, and Allan Crabbe had 20 off the bench.
The dates for both the East Finals and West Finals have yet to be announced.