The Golden State Warriors, freshly past the Houston Rockets in the conference semifinals, look to be on the warpath back to the NBA Finals. They streaked past Portland 116-94 in Game 1 Tuesday on the back of 36 points and seven assists from Steph Curry.
Three more wins over the Trail Blazers means a fifth-straight appearance in the Finals, and seven more wins overall equate to a fourth title in five seasons. When comparing greatest dynasties of all-time, the Warriors have to be a part of the conversation.
According to Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd, Golden State still ranks a notch below the Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls, winners of six NBA Championships in six trips during the 1990s.
“Michael Jordan’s Bulls are the best team I’ve ever seen,” he said on his morning show The Herd, “because they could do it on both ends. They had the best rebounder (Dennis Rodman), the best player (Michael Jordan), the best No. 2 (Scottie Pippen), the best European (Toni Kukoc), the best coach (Phil Jackson), and then you just forget they had Horace Grant.”
The Bulls had to beat several Western Conference teams with Hall of Fame players en route to their titles. Magic Johnson and the Lakers, Clyde Drexler and the Trail Blazers, Charles Barkley and the Suns, Gary Payton and the Supersonics and Karl Malone with John Stockton and the Jazz.
Meanwhile, the Warriors had to top LeBron James and the Cavaliers for each championship. This year, it’s either Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks or Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors.
Cowherd went on to say that the Warriors are as good as the Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal Lakers of the early 2000s. Those teams recorded a 3-peat from 2000-2002 over the Pacers, Sixers and Nets.
“I think Golden State is in a class of three other teams,” he said. “The Shaq-Kobe Lakers and the Showtime Lakers…and I can’t really separate them. It depends on the rules.”
Warriors Chances in Game 2 vs. Trail Blazers
The Warriors face the Trail Blazers in Oracle Arena Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. EST (ESPN). Team Rankings gives Golden State a 71.2 percent chance at leaving Oakland with a 2-0 series lead.
Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report calls for a tighter result in Game 2 due to adjustments on defense by Portland, as well as a breakout game from C.J. McCollum. He still predicts the Warriors to emerge victorious.
McCollum’s potential scoring outburst should keep the Blazers competitive in Game 2. However, until Lillard finds his stroke, Portland will have a tough time knocking off the Warriors, especially with Curry and Thompson scoring in bunches…
…With adjustments to the game plan, the Blazers will likely attempt to keep Curry and Thompson away from the three-point line, which may equate to a lower-scoring contest. If defense becomes the key to a Game 2 victory, Green’s play should come up big down the stretch.
With Kevin Durant injured and possibly leaving Golden State this offseason, as well as possibly Klay Thompson, expect the Warriors to push as hard as possible for that fourth title. It would be the greatest stretch from an NBA team since four titles in five seasons from the Boston Celtics from 1964-69.