On Sunday our Portland Trailblazers played the Golden State Warriors, widely acknowledged as best team in the NBA. The game took place down in Oakland in front of a raucous bay area crowd, with ticket prices expected to go well over $1000 each on the black market. The Trialblazers are the 8th seed, having barely squeaked into the playoff picture, and the Warriors have been comfortably sitting at the #1 seed all season, but this was still a good game. Blazers guards Lillard and McCollum impressed the national audience with 75 combined points, but the Warriors won it in the end, 121-109, and are now ahead 1-0 in the best of 7 series.
About two hours before game time it was announced that Blazer big man Jusuf Nurkic would not be available due to a fractured leg suffered a few weeks back. This wasn't a big shock, but many of us in Portland were hoping for a little Easter surprise to spice things up. Without the Bosnian Beast in the middle the Blazers face a huge uphill battle against an extremely talented and motivated Golden state team. Heck, even with Nurkic the odds are very long, but it'd be nice to see him in the series sometime soon.
The big news from a Blazer standpoint was the stellar play of shooting guard CJ McCollum, who scored 41 points on the night. He and Lillard kept things close throughout 3 quarters. The game was tied at the half and also going into the final quarter. Unfortunately, that's when Golden State locked things down and ran away with it.
There's just a heck of a lot of talent on the Warriors. IF Steph Curry doesn't kill you with his three point shooting, then Klay Thompson probably will, or maybe Kevin "Durantula" Durant, and even Draymond Green. The good news is this first game wasn't a cakewalk for those bigshots in the bay area, so we can expect a fun matchup come Wed night when they play game #2. Fingers crossed for the return of Nurkic. If the Blazers somehow manage to steal a game in Oakland we can expect bedlam at the Moda Center on Saturday when both teams come to Portland for the crucial game 3. Basketball fan or not, you will likely be made aware of this series should the Blazers show signs of pulling off an upset. It's the kind of thing that give us fans a little extra drama and distraction as springtime rolls around. Let's Go Rip City!