Stephen Curry and Draymond Green both posted triple-doubles on power the Golden State Warriors to a 119-117 overtime triumph over the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday and into a fifth straight NBA Finals.
The two-time protecting NBA champions cleared the Blazers in four games in the best-of-seven Western Conference finals.
The main other team to achieve five straight NBA Finals was the Boston Celtics when they went to a record 10 out of a row from 1957 to 1966.
“I hope it doesn’t go unnoticed or underrated — five straight finals hasn’t been done since the 60s,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr. “It hasn’t been done for a reason, it’s really, really difficult and so I just can’t say enough about the competitive desire of the group of guys that we have here.”
The Warriors will battle for the title beginning on 30 May against either the Milwaukee Bucks or Toronto Raptors, meaning to turn into the main team since the Los Angeles Lakers of 2000, 2001 and 2002 to three-peat as champions.
Curry and Green turned into the first teammates allied history to have triple-pairs in a similar post-season game, as indicated by the Elias Sports Bureau.
Curry finished with 37, 13 bounce back and 11 assists, while Green had his second in a row triple-double — posting double digits in three key factual classifications — with 18, 14 bounce back and 11 assists.
Fittingly, Curry and Green joined on the game-winning basket in extra time, Curry encouraging Green for a three-pointer that drove Golden State to a 119-115 lead with 39.6 seconds left in additional time.
“Obviously in that situation we want Steph to have the ball, we want Steph or Klay (Thompson) to take the shot,” Green said.
“But they were swarming them. So I was just talking to them ‘Watch out, watch out.’
“When he passed me the ball, I just let it go. When I shot it, it felt good.”
The Trail Blazers had driven 69-65 at halftime and constructed the lead to 17 in the second from last quarter — the third straight game where Portland driven by upwards of 17 just to miss the mark.
With veteran Andre Iguodala having joined hotshot Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins on the injured list, the Warriors created an all out collaboration to rally once more.
Thompson scored 17 while save Kevon Looney included 12 and 14 bounce back and Alfonzo McKinnie contributed 12 points.
“Being without Kevin these last five games has put us in a really tough spot and our guys stepped up in a big way,” Kerr said. “The group has fibre to them — when (these) guys go down they find a way to come together and compete and win.”
Warriors ‘discover a way’
The Warriors scored the last nine points of the third period to close inside 95-87 and tied the score at 104-104 on Curry’s layup with 4:34 left in guideline.
“We know we can cover 17 points in a matter of three or four minutes,” Green said. “So we always try to keep that mindset — that we’re never out of the game.”
Both teams got an opportunity to win in regulation, however Curry went before depleting a three-pointer that didn’t tally and Dame Lillard was unfit to traverse in traffic as time expired with the score tied 111-111.
Portland star Lillard, playing with excruciating isolated ribs, completed with 28 while unheralded Meyers Leonard drove the Trail Blazers with a vocation high 30 and 12 bounce back.
CJ McCollum included 26 for the Trail Blazers, yet it wasn’t sufficient for a team that had fended off elimination twice in their second-round series against the Denver Nuggets.
“We couldn’t get over the hump,” Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “I think it was a demonstration of how good they are and how good they have been over the years — they find a way to win.”