Blazers swept regardless of large minutes-led benefit

Blazers swept regardless of large minutes-led benefit

PORTLAND, Ore. — Aggressive sweep? It seems like an oxymoron, but it surely offered a little bit of comfort for the Portland Path Blazers after the franchise’s longest playoff run in 19 years ended with a four-game dismissal by the dynastic Golden State Warriors within the Western Convention finals.

“We had been very aggressive on this sequence, though it was a sweep,” Portland coach Terry Stotts stated after what he described as a “particular season” ended with a 119-117 additional time loss in Monday’s Recreation four.

The Path Blazers really led for extra minutes within the sequence than the Warriors by a 101-83 margin. Portland’s downside, nevertheless, was that no lead was massive sufficient in opposition to Golden State.

Based on ESPN Stats & Data analysis, the Blazers grew to become the one crew over the previous twenty years to lose three video games that they led by at the least 15 factors in the identical playoff sequence. The Warriors rallied from a 17-point deficit in Recreation 2, from 18 down in Recreation Three and from one other 17-point deficit in Recreation four.

Blazers swept regardless of large minutes-led benefit

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“We needed to combat and scrap,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr stated after Golden State clinched its fifth consecutive NBA Finals look. “In the long run, it is a sweep, however we needed to scrap and claw for 3 of the 4 victories. This was tougher than it appeared.”

Portland had professional alternatives to win Video games 2 and four however faltered offensively down the stretch. The Path Blazers scored solely 19 factors on Eight-of-29 capturing in 14 clutch minutes throughout the sequence, conditions outlined by the rating being inside 5 factors within the remaining 5 minutes of regulation or additional time. That included six factors on Three-of-10 capturing in additional time Monday, when Blazers star Damian Lillard missed a nook Three-pointer within the remaining seconds that might have been the sport winner.

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“It is the furthest that we have now performed into the postseason, and that is somewhat deeper water than what we have seen,” stated Lillard, who had 28 factors and 12 assists in Recreation four, his finest efficiency of the sequence. “It is somewhat bit extra bodily and mentally making an attempt. The extent of play is greater. There’s extra on the road. Groups take their scouting studies and element it to the subsequent stage. I feel it was an incredible expertise for us. …

“I feel we confirmed that we’re able to being right here and competing at this stage. But it surely’s positively totally different.”

By and huge, the Blazers thought-about the outcomes of the sequence to be extra of a testomony to Golden State’s greatness than an publicity of Portland’s flaws.

“Give the Warriors credit score,” stated Portland middle Meyers Leonard, who didn’t play Recreation 1 resulting from a coach’s determination and scored a career-high 30 factors and grabbed 12 rebounds in Recreation four. “They’ve type of been there, achieved that, clearly. They’re able to maintain a sure stage of play and execution that clearly allowed them to seek out their method again the final three video games.”

It marked the third consecutive yr that Portland’s postseason ended with a sweep, however the Blazers walked out of the Moda Heart on Monday evening with their heads held a lot greater than after their earlier two exits. They didn’t win a playoff recreation the previous two years, getting swept by the Warriors in 2017 and the New Orleans Pelicans final season.

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This postseason run represented outstanding progress for Portland, a well-liked preseason choose to fall out of the Western Convention playoff image. The Blazers claimed the convention’s third seed with a 53-win common season, closed out the primary spherical in 5 video games when Lillard waved goodbye to the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder by capping his 50-point efficiency with a tie-breaking, 37-foot buzzer-beater and gained a street Recreation 7 over the Denver Nuggets within the convention semifinals.

“I feel it was a particular season for us,” Lillard stated. “We’re coming off back-to-back sweeps. I imply, it is one other sweep, however you’d fairly get swept within the Western Convention finals than within the first spherical.”

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