TNT’s Kenny Smith thinks that that the Portland Trail Blazers have a chance to play the Golden State Warriors in the NBA’s Western Conference Finals and could play fairly well.
“I think that at times, what I’ve watched is a Portland team who was really close with Damian Lillard and [C.J.] McCollum and that they were too small to continue that,” Kenny Smith told me.
“So everything had to be perimeter. But when you throw Kanter in, you throw Rodney Hood; those two guys can throw 60% from two-point range. So, I don’t think Portland ever had anybody who could consistently do that.”
The Golden State Warriors are 16-9 since the NBA All-Star break. Since then the Dubs have averaged 115.1 points per game, while shooting a league-leading 49% from the field.
The Dubs are playing an underdog Los Angeles Clippers in round one of the NBA Playoffs.
Per Basketball Society Online: The Clippers are the largest first-round underdog since 1988 and are a 100-1 odds to come out on top against the two-time defending champions.
The Portland Trail Blazers will open up their series with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday. The Thunder swept the four-game regular-season series, between the two team, but the games were quite close.
Paul George and Russell Westbrook are the face of the Thunder. OKC went 6-10 in March and turned that around with a 5-0 record this month.
Could this be the year that the Blazers close that gap?
Back in March, both Smith and NBA Hall of Famer, Charles Barkley both agreed that the Trail Blazers will be making their first appearance in the NBA Finals since 1992. Smith punctuated that by stating that he believes that the Trail Blazers have what it takes to beat the star-studded Warriors in a best-of-seven series.
Barkley is sticking with his guns.
“I like Portland in the Finals,” Barkley told me last month.
“With [Damian] Lillard and [CJ] McCollum. The addition of Rodney Hood and Enes Kanter. I like them in the West.”
What say you, Kenny?
“Charles, he can say someting crazy all of the time,” Smith told me.
“I don’t normally say it. I’m just saying, not every day in a seven game series. I’m talking about just three games: shoot six for ten in between to combat guys shooting four for ten from three point range. They have it, they have it! So to me, that separates them when they’ve been so close every year to get over the hump, that they can get to the Western Conference Finals and they’re a clear and present agent for the Warriors because the Warriors have had trouble with those two guards even in that set. And even, until this year, Oklahoma had trouble with those two guards; until this year.”