Basketball

2019 NBA PLAYOFFS – JustBet favourites Warriors reach fifth straight finals

…as Bucks and Raptors are locked at 2-2

BY MARK ARCHER
Contributor

Friday, May 24, 2019

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ON Monday night last, the JustBet favourite, Golden State Warriors defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 119-117 in overtime of Game 4 of the Western Conference finals to complete the sweep and book their fifth straight appearance in the NBA Finals. The Warriors now join the 1957-66 Boston Celtics as the only teams to reach five straight finals and they will make every effort to become the first team since the 2000-02 Los Angeles Lakers to three-peat.

The Warriors entered the series without the services of Kevin Durant and, specifically, Game 4 without Andre Iguodala. This meant that Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green had to don their superhero capes and will the other role players to victory. Game 4 was very similar to the previous two games where Golden State was down by double-digits in the second half and had to stage another, all too familiar, second-half comeback.

On Monday, the Warriors trailed by as many as 17 points in the third quarter. Curry played all second-half minutes (including overtime) on his way to scoring 37 points with 11 assists and 13 rebounds, his fourth straight game with at least 35 points (fifth straight with at least 30 points). Curry was partnered by Green whose massive triple-double effort of 18 points, 11 assists and 14 rebounds doesn't begin to describe the value of his contribution.

Curry and Green made history as the first pair of team-mates to record a triple-double in the same game in NBA postseason history. If there is any negative to site from Curry's effort, his record streak of 81 consecutive made free throws in post-season fourth quarters or overtimes (dating back to 2015), finally came to an end.

Draymond Green's performance was once again extraordinary. He played one of his best games ever in Game 3, then followed it up with another monster night in Game 4, including what ended up being the game-winning 3-pointer in overtime (only his second 3 of the series). Outside of the effort that will be highlighted on the stats sheet, his three steals and two blocks injected much-needed adrenaline for the win.

The Trail Blazers' season, after the franchise's longest play-off run in 19 years, ended on a night in which Meyers Leonard (Who?) stole the show. His 25 first-half points were more points than he had ever scored in a single game in college or the NBA and his 30-point total led the team on the night. His 40 played minutes were more than he played in the entire seven game series against Denver but, for all his effort, the team fell short. Portland, in their defence, led for more minutes in the series than the Warriors by a 101-83 margin and, despite the sweep, were very competitive. They shot an efficient 61 per cent from the floor in the first half of Game 4 but began just 3-of-13 in the third quarter, paving the way for the Warriors' come-back victory.

This is the third consecutive year that the Warriors' post-season ended with a sweep, but the early wrap up provides more time for the recovery of ailing Warriors and the recovery of Curry following his Monday marathon. On May 30, the Warriors face either the Milwaukee Bucks or the Toronto Raptors who they both met twice this season—They were 1-1 against the Bucks and 0-2 against the Raptors, but they have not played either team since mid-December 2018 and the play-offs are a whole different story.

The Bucks, after taking the first two games in the Eastern Conference Finals, appear to be heading for a short series but the Raptors had other ideas. Leading MVP candidate, Giannis Antetokounmpo was corralled in Canada and the Raptors, who took Game 3 based mainly on poor execution by the Bucks, followed up with a blow-out victory in Game 4 on Tuesday, to tie the series 2-2. There will be at least six games in the series and, while the Eastern Conference combatants push each other to the limit, the Warriors can focus on rest, recuperation and preparation.

JustBet offers odds on the NBA and all major sports and sporting events. The schedule for the rest of the NBA Eastern Conference Final games are listed but visit one of the over 100 locations (or visit www.justbetja.com) for details and place your bets on the prediction of your choice for maximum winnings...Get in the GAME!

JUSTBET NBA CHAMPION 2018-2019

CODE TEAM ODDS
101 GS WARRIORS 1.30
106 TOR RAPTORS 10.00
110 MIL BUCKS 3.75

DATE TIME HOME AWAY

25/05/19 19:30 TOR RAPTORS MIL BUCKS Game 6
27/05/19 19:30 MIL BUCKS TOR RAPTORS Game 7 (if necessary)


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