Blazers

Blazers’ Inability to Finish Games Leads to Season’s Demise

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It’s a hard time to be a Blazers fan after this one. The ups and downs for this team have left fans with high admiration but mass frustration seconds later. The writing was on the wall, or was it? Maybe we didn’t want to see it, but it was there and it only grew as they eked into its final seconds.

Off To The Races

The first quarter was a shootout. The Blazers pulled out all stops while getting incredible production from Damian Lillard and Meyers Leonard. Portland ran their offense like a Swiss watch. The true mark of beauty– 11 assists on 15 made field goals.

 

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Who needs defense when you’re shooting 50+% from every spot on the floor? Their 35 points in the quarter marks their most prolific start to the Western Conference Finals.

Meyers Leonard? Meyers Leonard.

Things only got hotter for Leonard in the second quarter. He’d finish the first half with a career-best 25 points.

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As they’ve done all series long, Portland turned on cruise control to start the second half. The game stalled while their second unit was on the court. With their boot on Golden State’s proverbial neck, they took the foot off the gas, giving the Warriors the necessary opportunities to come back. Rip City did its best to keep the Blazers in the game, but everything began to fall apart near the end of the 3rd quarter, as they saw their double digit lead disappear yet again.

Abysmal 4th

Portland’s double digit lead quickly shrunk to eight heading into the 4th. Their weakest quarter of the game saw them score just 16 points. The Blazers were once again just minutes from tasting victory and once again, had it yanked from their plates. With 10 seconds to play, Dame would miss a heavily contested runner, ushering the game into OT.

The ensuing tug of war for the West would end with Golden State waltzing into their fifth straight NBA Finals appearance. The Blazers would experience their third straight game in which they blew a double digit lead.

It’s All Over…

The Blazers had everything a team needs to extend a series. Their superstars did everything right, combining for 54 points on strong efficiency. They received help from their third “star” Meyers Leonard, who finished with a team-high 30 points (12-16 FG, 5/8 3Pt 1-2 FT), 12 boards, and three assists.

In the first two rounds of the playoffs, playing the way they did would typically earn a win. The difference now is simply that they’re playing the Warriors. Their defense struggled to stop them when it mattered most. The Blazers outshot the Warriors, but were absolutely destroyed on the boards, losing that battle 38 to 56, which included 15 offensive rebounds for Golden State.

Golden State advances in a four-game sweep, making Portland just the fifth team in NBA history to be swept from the playoffs in three consecutive seasons.

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